Drabble 47 – Musal

Drabble 47 – Musal

Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon by Claude Lorraine

It’s kind of flattering to be asked where your ideas come from, even if it’s not the most interesting question to answer. As a writer, I worry constantly that everything I write is derivative and unoriginal, regurgitated from a lifetime of consuming other, better work.

And that might be true, but it still doesn’t explain where ideas come from. It’s not hard to see why they used to be ascribed to divinity–one moment you’re sitting there, pencil between your teeth, unsure of what to write, and the next you’re building an entire life for someone who doesn’t exist. It feels like magic.

When you get right down to it, most of my ideas are what-if questions allowed to blossom. What if the world ended and you didn’t care? What if the universe was strangely literal? What if a succubus didn’t know how to flirt?

Answering these questions is part of the reason I write fantasy–that, and a lifelong love for slipping out of this world and into another where things make a different kind of sense. And while I’m wandering through a well-trod field with plenty of others, trying to find places where boots bigger and better than mine haven’t already left their marks, I remind myself that everybody tells a story differently and, most likely, every other person is having the exact same fear I am.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.


Of or pertaining to the Muses or poetry.

Melpomene files her fingernails. “Nobody invokes us anymore,” she says, holding her hand up to inspect her nails in the light. She frowns and resumes filing.

“They’ve forgotten us,” Thalia whines. “They think they come up with everything on their own. Except when they’re stuck, then it’s all, ‘ooh, my flighty muse.’” She looks like she wants to spit.

Calliope scowls. “They don’t even bother with pleas for divine inspiration anymore.”

“Maybe not to you,” Euterpe says, fixing her hair. “Epic poetry isn’t exactly en vogue anymore, sister.”

Calliope shoots her sister a poisonous look. “They’ll forget you too, someday.”

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