Muse: But how can there be? Look, it's empty!
Me: Uhm, I see bits of something clinging to the bottom.
Muse (grabs Crockpot back): Well, bits of mushroom stems and sauce scrapings don't count.
Me: Of course they do! If I can see it or smell it, it counts. Now give it up.
Muse: Here, why don't you have more from the Street Glass bowls? I can tell you really like the one labeled Possible Epilog.
Me: Cut it out. I told you, one creation at a time. No meddling with something else while this one's unfinished.
Muse (folds arms and huffs): Look, I can only work with what you give me. You don't put in all the ingredients, you don't get a complete dish.
Me: You're a muse. Creativity is supposed to be your forté.
Muse (waving arms around): You're the one who grabbed the Crockpot as soon as you smelled something good! Did you ask me if I was finished with it? Nooo!
Me (drains coffee mug): We've had this conversation before. Stop being stubborn. Where would Neil Gaiman be if his muse was as stubborn as you?
Muse: His muse has better working conditions. You don't even have a desk, how am I supposed to concentrate with you muttering and complaining about your headache or backache? The cat comes in and sneezes all over the bed. I'm constantly being interrupted!
Me: Other muses deal with it. Some even help their writers churn out a book or two every year.
Muse (sighs overly loudly and rolls eyes): Speaking of writers, why can't you come up with some of this yourself? You bark orders like a drill sergeant and I'm just supposed to ask 'how high' when you say jump?
Me (fills wine glass): Screwing up metaphors and becoming an incarnate cliché will not get you out of this. I know there's a way to connect these plot points, I can smell it. Put the Crockpot on "keep warm", maybe that will loosen the bits stuck to the bottom.
Muse: And you never share anything you're drinking. Look, I ... (Drops gaze to floor, kicks feet back and forth) I'm kind of stuck. I made some sauce with the new ingredients and it should have been a great sauce, but it's watery and tastes like old socks. It won't coat anything. It's not even soup, just failed sauce. I hate it when that happens.
Me (nods): Oh, you should have told me before. It sure smells great, though. Does it need a bit more spice? Would some arrowroot help?
Muse: I don't know, I've tried thickeners. I guess the next step is to lock the top on and turn the Crockpot upside down again. Just please promise me you'll turn it right side up when you want to look inside!
Me: I do try to remember that. It's hard to slow down when I smell the perfect solution. Tell you what, I'll set out the ingredients one at a time so you can get a look at what I've got before putting it all in the pot. Sometimes throwing it all in at once messes it up, I think.
Muse: Great idea! Sauces are tricky, you have to get everything just right. And you have a lot of requirements for this one so it might just take longer than you'd like. You tell everybody else to be patient.
Me: I know, it's just that the aroma is lingering and is making my mouth water. All right, I'll go pull out stuff from the cupboards and the fridge. We can do this. You've stuck with me for a long time, I know it's not in you to give up.
Muse (puffs up and grins): I'll go wash the utensils and get the cleaning things out. I secretly get a kick out of watching you come tearing in here and grab the Crockpot, even if you do forget to turn it right-side up.
Photo: By User:MECU (self) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons