A muse bouche

What on earth does that title mean (apart from the author is getting stuck up the wrong orifice)? A mouthy inspiration? A small succulent morsel of an idea that foreshadows a great feast. Like any writer we need our muse bouches to tempt us to, or back to, the page and set us on our way.

2014-11-09 12.33.11I did a short writing course way back when I was first toying with the idea I might write a book. One exercise was to take a body part and use it as an inspiration for some stream of consciousness writing. I chose the mouth. I recounted a story that happened in an interview where I was one of a panel of three interviewers. The candidate had been shown into the interview room to wait while we three had a quick pre-discussion on what we wanted to ask and who would ask it. The interview room was pretty bare though on the table was a stationary tray with some small notepads, pencils and miscellaneous bits and pieces. The candidate was nervous, understandably and, it seems in need of something with which to fiddle away his nerves. His gaze alighted on a paperclip which he proceeded to unwind. Not content with straightening out the wire he then attacked some plaque between his front teeth. Sadly the wire stuck – a little kink remained and he was still yanking to remove it when we entered. We were surprised that he offered us a hand to shake while the other covered his mouth. Was he suffering from a cold and, politely, sought to keep the germs to himself? Had he some awful deformity he was embarrassed to show us. Was a festering belch about the erupt? A droplet of blood splashed on his crisp white shirt. Then three more. With an animalesque howl, much muffled as it was, he ran out to find the gents. He didn’t get the job.

2014-09-02 22.47.36My muse is my father’s desk which I have decorated (see here, if you missed the post). I sit and write and imagine him perched on a tall stool looking over my shoulder, a pint of Ringwood Ale in one hand (pint mug with a handle, not a sleeve) and one of Mum’s scones (cream and jam too) in the other saying ‘Crap, boy’ or ‘I suppose, if you must…’ or ‘For god’s sake that’s a preposition; what’s it doing there?’ And in my head I tell him to **** off and we smile at each other and each other going.

This week, for Charli’s latest prompt,

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story inspired by your muse. It can be about a muse, about longing for a muse or being thwarted by a muse. It can be serious or a-musing. It can be prose or poetic. Whatever you and your muse agree upon,

Mary needs a muse for her search but can she find one? Read on (and this is the link to the previous instalments if you need a refresher)

The beat of a butterfly’s wing

 Peter the dog dropped the ball at Mary’s feet. Mary smiled. “It was your predecessor that started this, you know.”

The dog wagged his tail. When would she throw it?

“Him dying, dad’s heart. That kick started all this.”

One silly mistake, not leaving the car window open, had unleashed chaos.

Mary hurled the ball as far as she could. She knew it would come back to her. The ball was hers to control now. Only she could bring order. While Peter searched in the grass she pulled out the copy email. Her birth certificate. The hunt was on.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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9 Responses to A muse bouche

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Several tasty morsels to mouth in this post! How devastating for a nervous candidate to do something so utterly foolish. I suppose in your line of work, it is important to control one’s nerves within reasonable bounds. I used to be a part of the hiring team at my workplace and always felt bad for the candidate who fell apart merely because he walked into the room and had to face three women. 🙂

    Your desk and you muse are so delightful. I was telling the Radio Geek just a few days ago about your memories desk as she and the Geologist are buying their first home and it has a carriage house that she wants to make into a sauna and guest apartment. I thought she’d enjoy making a desk like yours for the space. Thinking of your Dad on a stool behind your shoulder with a pint is the perfect muse! I have a photo of my Papa Sonny writing at his desk back in the 50s, and it sits on mine.

    The ball is in Mary’s court! I love how this ties back to how it all started but now it is a new adventure of sorts. This story continues to deepen. Her sense of determination has really surfaced, too and it feels like a shift for her, in a good way.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. TanGental says:

    Thank you for all those thoughts. I do hope the radio Geek goes for it. I had so much fun over a long period creating it. The one thing I’m really glad I did was buy a sheet of toughened glass to cover the top so I can put coffee mugs everywhere and not damage anything!

    Like

  3. ruchira says:

    This was a creative piece 🙂

    Loved it!

    Like

  4. Annecdotist says:

    Lovely compilation of muses, mouths and your usual humour. Never done an interview that way where the panel walks in on the candidate rather than vice versa – I hope that was a lesson to you never to leave rogue paperclips lying about. Great to see your inspiring desk again and Mary finding a sense of control – quite a challenge to work that prompt into the saga, I could imagine. I know many of us are weary of blog awards, but I think you should have one of your dedication to this twisty turny tale.

    Like

    • TanGental says:

      A special award? What fun. The ‘Mind-numbingly Patient Reader’? The ‘When Will He Let It Go?’? I wonder how you’d categorise this tale. Fragmented Soap Opera? A Soap Flake! That’s it!

      Like

  5. willowdot21 says:

    I am getting very intrigued by Mary’s sorry I have caught the scent! I have memories too of Dad at his desk , if he was sitting behind me he would have his smelly old pipe in one hand and a Guinness in the other. His old fashioned hearing aid in his ear and the box part on his breast pocket ! Punctuation girl it is everything! xxxxxx

    Like

    • TanGental says:

      If I called my son or daughter ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ they’d go bananas! He couldn’t understand why it annoyed me so much, or maybe he knew and was quite happy to wind me up!

      Like

  6. Pingback: 99 Word Flash fiction: Muses, Plato and waffle | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  7. Pingback: Be Inspired « Carrot Ranch Communications

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