The Muse

Early in the morning before tackling farm chores or getting dressed for the day, I woke up slowly by reading various blogs that popped up underneath the “Discover” tab on WordPress. I found that this little button opened my eyes to an amazing new world of writers. Beyond that it has been helping me grow and improve so that I am able to communicate better with all of you.

Some Blog posts this week have left me in awe and pushed me to think about situations in my life in an entirely new way (Like the one written by Wynne Leon about Mount Everest). Other posts have inspired to me to tackle unique writing prompts (like this one written by Ben who enjoys farm life as well).

I thought a lot about how writing prompts might fit into a farm blog where I primarily discuss various events in my life and my ability to reflect on them. I came up empty. Especially when those writing prompts take me on a tangent that is nowhere near being farm related. Yet the more I read, the more I wanted to write something completely off topic to share here with all of you. I looked over the writing prompt made by Ben on Trail Baboon and decided to shove my concerns out of my head and to sit and enjoy the journey.

I ended up loving it so much that I shared the un-edited version of the writing prompt (typos in all) with Trail Baboon and Ben. I then decided to toss my “brand” out the window to share it here with all of you as well. To summarize this exercise, Ben shared a local town mystery that involved bottles of vodka, and a man who followed the wrong woman wearing a red jacket. The story itself was true but the prompt encouraged others to solve the mystery with a piece of fiction.

Without giving too much away, (it would be far better to click the link so you can read it for yourself) I’d love to hear your version. So if you decide to write about it, please share it with Trail Baboon and also share it here with me.

Small towns are notoriously more interesting than fiction (mine included) and I have been planning on sharing a piece with more information about that topic at a later date. Until then… here is the story I concocted that was inspired by Ben’s writing prompt about his little town’s mystery. I believe that my title fits both this explanation and the piece I wrote below perfectly.

“The Muse”

My fingertips dripped with the essence of her. They had come too close to catching me. I had gone to see a showing of “Come From Away” with my wife at a tiny theater in town. Petite exactly like she was, not my wife… her.

After much deliberation my “better half” decided to wear the wine stained pea coat that I so strongly recommend. I only bought it because it reminded me of her, but had given it to my wife as a birthday gift. The magnificent color that had once beautifully highlighted wavy copper hair and tulip shaped lips. It didn’t look nearly as lovely on my wife.

I had discreetly slipped the travel sized watercolor brushes and paint into my overcoat. The large breast pockets perfectly hid the cheap bottle of vodka and even left enough room for my smallest notebook. It was the perfect way to keep her close to my heart.

How many hours had I spent in the glow of early morning sunlight, bent over the edges of that rough paper? Avoiding police officers while waiting to catch a glimpse of her on the running path. I couldn’t remember. Too many. It was hard to keep her in sight while lurking underneath the dark twisted branches of the forest. My hands desperately trying to engrave the image of her into my notebook.

My mind was drifting when I realized that the frigid air had made my glasses fog up. I had been making my way towards the car while following the wrong red pea coat out of the theater. I was being careless again. My wife was several feet behind me. I had to explain myself. Using my hot breath to ease the numbness in my hands, I grazed the stubble on my chin and mumbled an excuse for my actions.

Long after the movie had been over with- yet before the sun graced the sky with an ocean of color… I would slip out of bed and make my way to the path. The vail of darkness obscuring my true intentions. I dressed in jogging shorts and a runner’s shirt underneath my signature jacket. I needed to look the part of being innocent. The bottle of water firmly in my clutch helped me blend in even better and would also serve as another useful tool.

I was slinking my way into my favorite spot when I spied ember flames licking their way down pavement. Her lips pursed in concentration for the next breath and she wore freckles that kissed the creamy skin on her shoulders. Sapphire spheres scanned the wood line but were swollen and ruby red underneath. I watched her suck in the scent of evergreen and pine while her limbs propelled her to push onward.

She had clearly been crying again and it killed me not to know why. “I love my wife.” I whispered. We didn’t fit together (my wife and I) but I never wanted to hurt her and I loved her deeply. My love for my wife however, wasn’t enough to keep me from coming back here to see… her. I dipped my brushes in paint and got to work. I used the cheap vodka in my pocket to add elements to the scene that the water in my bottle couldn’t accomplish.

When I was finished, she was gone and my fingers were stained with Daniel Smith’s Perylene Red watercolor paint. It was the essence of her. My copper muse. On my way home I ran into an officer who was keeping an eye over other joggers.

“Have a good run? What have you got on your hands there Mike?” He questioned suspiciously.

I had almost been caught the last time I was here by my wife over the exact same evidence. Red handed… literally. It threw me into a panic so I tucked my fists into the pockets of my shorts and decided to attempt to change the subject.

“Hey Sam! How’s your wife doing? You know it’s been a while since we had you both over for dinner…” the small talk distraction worked beautifully in my favor.

When I was finally on my way again, I stopped by the old town hall building to discard the vodka. In my haste to paint as quickly as possible, I seemed to carelessly pour large quantities over my brush. Sometimes this left me with half a bottle, occasionally more, and many times it left me with far less.

My head rotated to be sure no one was around to witness me sliding the bottle out of my pocket. Listening to the satisfying “THUNK!” as it hit the ground gave me such an overwhelming sense of pleasure. My little secret. The thrill of it had me smirking. The evidence of my visits just lying there to glisten in the light of day as I waltzed home with the real prize.

A watercolor painting created by me.