“I’ve got you now.” The personification of my creative muse, wearing give-up-on-life pants and what might once have been a t-shirt, is lounging on my couch while ignoring the cigar ash and drops of cheap beer accumulating on what passed for his clothing.

“I wasn’t under the impression that ‘getting’ me was your goal,” I say. “Aren’t you, as ever, an appropriation of a concept used by Stephen King (without permission) to give form to my creative angst during National Novel Writing Month?”

“No.” My muse takes a deep drag and a deep sip before continuing. “I’m also a personification of your fear of creative failure and occasional reminder that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. And I’ve got you this year.”

“How’s that?” I say defensively. “This year I’m writing a fantasy novel, going for something that’s not at least quasi-realistic for the first time. That’s practically my normal mode, my comfort zone.”

“Yes, but you’re also signed up as a municipal liaison. Officially this time, with real responsibilities and stuff, and not the half-assed kind of quasi-ML you were before. You think there’s enough time in the day for a full-time job, finishing what promises to be another 100,000-word novel, and supervising a bunch of other writers and events? Especially considering you’ll be arriving back from a trip to France one day before November starts?” My muse laughs a bitter laugh.

“We’ll see,” I say in return. “Being an ML could energize me.”

“Or it could leave you a dried-out husk, as dead on the inside as on the outside, so dessicated that Egyptian mummies will look at you askance and say ‘what the Helios happened to that guy?'”

“We shall see, my friend,” I say. “We shall see.”

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