Thursday, December 4, 2014

Alumni Voices with Jennifer Mazi: Open Letter to a Muse

Dear Sharon,
I’m writing an open letter to you because that seems to be the thing to do these days and since we broke up, I haven’t had a single, fresh idea of my own. In fact, I can’t even find proper writing tools in this snowglobe of a house I live in, which explains why I’m scribbling this letter on the back of a Wild Things color sheet from the library in pink marker.
That is how bad things have gotten between us. So let’s talk.
(Come closer!)
Oh, you have somewhere to be?
I get it.
I see you out there, speeding through the woods across the street, blowing your pouty whistle to rub in my face that you are moving forward...without me.
Tracking down the muse: Of course, 
the morning I go out to find her, 
Sharon is nowhere to be found.
I hear you right this instant—the whole neighborhood hears you too, by the way—whining about how I’m not doing my part to woo you, that I’ve been distracted by a four-month long Good Wife binge and what the world is doing on Facebook and untouched stacks of overdue library books.
(In my defense, I’ve read all the picture books, several times, at least. I read Oliver Jeffers’ It Wasn’t Me maybe 92 times this month alone. And I gave The Goldfinch a shot but it was so heavy my arms hurt by page 20 and there weren’t any pictures.)
You say you feel neglected, but the truth is: I don’t know how to woo 240 tons of iron and steel. I miss the version of you that climbed up onto my lap and purred wild word after word into my ear. Now, I strain to even hear you ramming your cars into each other at odd hours, drowned out by the sound of Mahna-Mahna on repeat and four people hollering that they have no clean underpants.
A friend e-mailed the other day to let me know about a free two-hour Scrivener workshop I might be interested in.
Which I would have been, I told him, except I don’t write anymore, and haven’t since you crawled out the door dragging half of my brain with you in search of a clear route west...all because YOU wanted to see what the moon looked like over the Grand Canyon and I wouldn’t drive you.
I guess it’s not entirely true, that I don’t write. I tweet, although I get scared and delete them before people comment. I write Facebook rants about ridiculous tools I need but don’t have, and notes for my kiddos’ lunchbox napkins when I remember. I can manage a decent obituary and the occasional newspaper article, but that doesn’t cover the bills.
Our projects? The ones you and I loved like children, that we named and hugged and whispered to and envisioned in glossy Pantone colors with double-fan adhesive binding before sending off to yet another not-the-right-agent?
I haven’t seen them in months.
If we wait a bit longer, “months” changes to “a year.”
They cry for us, sometimes. (Doesn’t that just break your heart? Do you even have a heart?) We left so many of them dangling on the edges of various cliffs and ravines. They deserved a chance to reach The End, but you needed your own adventure, and I was too tired to drive to Arizona.
I’m sorry. Let’s stop blaming each other. I’ve changed, or at least I am trying: I only watch TV when I fold laundry now; I switched my Facebook password to something so complicated I couldn’t remember it if I were a World Memory Champion; I am reading longer books again, or at least, I will be once I return that stack in the corner to the library.
Just come back inside. My lap is empty, and I’m allergic to cats.

Jennifer Mazi is a 2011 graduate of the MFAC program. She lives in Missouri.


  1. This was hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Well thanks for reading it! I will let you know if it works....

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you for the thank you!

      (and for spreading it around. Almost makes me want to write some more....)

  4. Jen, you will always be a writer, with or without Sharon.