Careful what you wish for
“You’re lucky,” she sighs from her curled kitten pose on my bed. “You’ve been written about so many times.”
I flick my eyes up from the desk momentarily. “I guess I run in the right circles for that.”
She shifts on the blankets, excitedly. “No, I mean - you’re a muse!” Her eyes are shining, wistfully. “I wish somebody would write about me.”
She wants my attention, and she’s got it. I put down my pen and focus sharply.
“No. You don’t.”
Her expression catches in surprise, and she quickly looks away as I gaze at her. Beautiful thing. She can never look me straight in the eye.
“Once a man or a woman writes you, whether they capture you right or oh-so-wrong, they own a piece of you. Understand, a writer’s imagination is a filthy, dangerous beast - beautiful, yes, but absolutely vicious. Once they have penned an idea of you to paper, you are chained to that ink. You are forced to live in the world that only they have the power to create for you. Their words will always define this fantasy version of you; the reflection of yourself that you will come to crave.
You will cease to become flesh and blood, that is, outside of the earthly pleasures that you will happily provide. You will become a sentient vessel for their inspiration; no longer a real person carrying real, unsightly damage. Even your darkest flaws will be given a luminous polish, because you have been transformed into a lofty concept. The fantasy of you will dance upon the page, taunting you endlessly, for you will never live up to a writer’s ideal vision of you. And you will never be written quite correctly either - it is impossible to capture all the miniscule imperfections of a human being, and writers tend to prefer to dress things up slightly, anyway. Their blurring of fact and fiction coupled with their unrealistic sense of aesthetics is a cruel legacy.
What I’m saying is, if a writer chooses to love you, you should run.”
She’s sitting up straight, chocolate pools of eyes raptly attentive. I continue.
“You won’t, of course, you’ll be utterly, hopelessly drawn in. A writer’s seduction is like nothing else on earth. If there is a romantic blood cell dwelling anywhere in your body, you will have no choice but to submit to it. You will feel yourself breathe through their words, aching for the strokes of their pen. You will become addicted to it, flattered, hypnotised, in thrall to the scenes they will write for you. You will become a rampant fiend for that high, searching time and again for your influence in the curved letters of each and every word.
Do you have any idea how exhausting that becomes? It is an unseen bullet, a piece of shrapnel caught between your ribs, ripping into your flesh painfully every time you laugh too hard or sleep on your side or let your guard down for even a moment.”
I regard the way she exhales slowly as I pause. I’m not quite finished yet.
“But if being loved by a writer is difficult, having a writer fall out of love with you is worse. And it is so easily achieved. If you, the muse, betray a writer’s fantasy, if you step outside the lines of their concocted characterisation of you, they will turn on you so fast you won’t be able to defend yourself. You won’t even feel the push off that pedestal until you fall to the ground with a bone-crushing thud. And it will hurt like hell, I warn you now.
As quickly as your ego was built up, you’ll be forced to watch it burn to the ground. Imagine all your shadows, every last scrap of shame, known and explored in the privacy of your shared vulnerability, splashed liberally on the page, for all to see. As beautiful, ethereal, and inherently pure as your fantasy self was conceived, it will now be distorted into an ugly, cowardly, twisted, hateful demon of a thing. You will be powerless to argue with the words as they acid rain down upon you. You will be unable to make their creator retract them, or soften their countenance toward you. A writer enraged is unreachable. The best you can do is find somewhere safe to hide, and pray that you can weather the storm.”
Her furrowed brow is quite adorable as she wriggles slightly on the edge of the bed, uncomfortably enthralled.
“Yet, a writer’s scorn is not the worst thing that you will suffer. Worst of it all, is being left alone, in the nuclear winter… in the sickening aftermath of a writer’s obsession with you. When all the words have dried up and the drug that you have come to crave is withheld, forever.
After everything you have been through; the wild abandon of fantasy, the warm affection of loving comfort, the dramatic ups and downs, the inevitable betrayal of the ideal you (for you will never fulfil it), and the spiteful scorn of a creative heartbroken, the next part is what will really kill you. You will suffer more in the frigid waters of abjurement than during any literary torture that came before it.
Yes, the very worst thing, is when your writer stops writing about you.”
With that, I am done, and I return my eyes to their beloved resting place on my notepad. I feel her sitting stunned in contemplative, slightly horrified silence for a moment, before opening her lovely mouth.
“You’re a writer,” she frowns, as if trying to put particularly stubborn puzzle pieces together.
“I’ve been called worse,” I murmur, wryly tapping my pen.
“Are you… going to do that to me?” She blinks exaggeratedly several times, fidgeting, all delicate little deer caught in the headlights.
“I don’t think so,” I say, wishing she’d be a good little muse and sit still for moment so I can capture this. I can see she’s not satisfied with my answer, so I add for her benefit, “No.”
She raises an eyebrow, uncertainty clouding her gorgeous face. She sighs.
“Don’t you worry about it.” I smile, reassuringly.
“… just be quiet for a moment, and let me finish off this last paragraph.”