Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania … and Nora?

In Books, Humor, Writing on August 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I just finished a book, Murder Me Now, by Annette Meyers, about a bohemian flapper poet/detective, Olivia Brown. When Olivia isn’t detecting (or drinking gin in Greenwich Village speak-easies), she composes poems which she later recites to her adoring fans. And her fans are legion. People stop her on the street, halt their conversations on trains, and line up for hours outside a venue at which she is scheduled to appear, just to hear her recite her work.

Between you and me, I find it hard to believe that poetry was ever that esteemed, even a century ago. Poetry confuses me. But, I don’t think most poets know what they’re writing about anyway, so I’ve never worried about my lack of insight into a poem’s meaning.

Olivia, however, is no regular poet/detective. She has a muse, whom she creatively calls “Muse.” When she feels a poem upon her, she only has to sit at her desk and ask Muse for inspiration. Nine times out of ten, Muse puts all of the poem’s words into Olivia’s head, in sonnet form. All that Olivia has to do is type.

I’m no stranger to muses. I’ve been known to ask deceased writers to a-muse me. Sometimes you’ll hear a person say that a living person is his muse, but the person talking is usually a man who has designs on the woman he calls his muse. As soon as their relationship fizzles out, he’s on to another muse.

I prefer a muse who is dead. You don’t have to meet for coffee or buy thank-you presents for spirit muses. If I could find a muse who would write my blog posts for me, instead of just inspiring me, that would be another plus in the muse’s favor.

My favorite form of writing is the humorous essay. When Erma Bombeck died, on my birthday, I took it as a sign that she was to be my muse. I asked her to inspire me and, for a while there, I thought she did. But I get the feeling that she didn’t find me funny enough to bother with, so she moved on.

I think that either David Sedaris or Dave Barry would be a perfect fit as my muse, but they’re still alive, which rules them out … for now. In the meantime, the search continues, but I think I’m getting close to finding myself a muse.

It’s said that everything happens for a reason, so when my friend recently loaned me her copy of a Nora Ephron book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck, I took note. When I started reading, I had a eureka moment: “Eureka! I have found her!” I know, like I’ve never known anything before, that I would very much like Nora Ephron to be my muse. I would welcome her inspiration. I would really welcome her actually writing my blog posts, but I’ll work up to that request.

In the meantime, I have to get Nora to agree to take me on, which might be too much to ask of her. In fact, she’s probably appalled that I’m asking her to muse me at all — especially since I am incorrectly using the word “muse” as a verb meaning “inspire.”

In Nora’s lifetime, she was a talented, sophisticated, intelligent, witty, sardonic, and hilarious writer who was widely admired. Why would she lower herself to muse me?

The answer is: because I’m alive and she’s not. I can keep her voice alive during the rest of my lifetime. That reason alone might sway her. After all,  even though she died, I’m certain that she still has lots to say.

What do you say, Nora?

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Wanna Buy a Website?

In Humor, Website, Writing on May 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm

A long time ago, I remember reading a complaint by a wanna-be author about young authors who, with little life experience, wrote best-selling debut novels. The complainer said that he thought that one had to run with bulls, shoot big game, and fight in wars before writing a book. He was really ticked off that novices had the nerve to succeed as authors without emulating Hemingway. I, on the other hand, was inspired. Maybe I could write a book, too. I knew very little about anything, so I was qualified. The only thing holding me back was my innate laziness.

My personal motto is “Take the path of least resistance.” Why struggle when you don’t have to? You can get there the easy way, or the hard way. The choice is kind of obvious.

I remember being awed, many years ago, by the marketing expertise of an Avon lady in our 20-story office building. I first learned of her existence in the ladies’ room. She had put a stack of Avon catalogs next to the sink. Out of curiosity, I visited all of the ladies’ rooms on every floor, and I saw an identical stack on every counter. That was ingenious, in my opinion. With very little effort, she had reached every potential female customer in the building. She became my role model, even though I had no idea who she was.

Then the Internet came along and entrepreneurs started buying up website domains with the names of big corporations and famous people. Big corporations and famous people were not amused, but many of them were forced to pay big bucks to the domain owners to buy back their names. Some of the companies sued the domain owners, but many chose to just pay up and be done with it. A new world had opened up for me.

So, I started a website. The site, www.spbroundup.com, is a list of self-published books. I had two purposes in starting the site: to promote the work of self-published authors, who needed one site where book buyers could go and find titles for all tastes; and to have a big corporation, like Amazon.com, buy it. The big corporation would have the resources to improve my site which would benefit indie authors, as well as me.

I mentioned the site on LinkedIn.com’s author and writer pages, and received a number of book submissions. I started entering the information, and then I got more submissions. I couldn’t keep up with the demand which was, in truth, small. But it was bigger than I could handle. Now, I have a backlog of titles to post on my site—and an inbox full of annoyed emails from self-published authors who want to know what is taking me so long to upload their book information. The worst part is that the site is taking up a lot of my time and nobody has shown any interest in buying, or even visiting, my site.

I think it’s time to change my path. This one is very resistant. Maybe I’ll start selling something in restrooms. If you’re a big mail-order company looking for an indolent rep, feel free to send me catalogs.

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