The paradox of the starving artist
“Am I your muse?”
Tracy lay on bed as naked as one can be, except for the thin gold necklace that I had given her on her birthday and she never took off since then. She had turned over her stomach, her legs folded against her cute ass and swaying very slowly in the air, and her wavy brown hair with golden locks fell around her face in an almost angelic way. She was pretty, so pretty; the sort of lovely pretty that would please one's mother, one's grandmother, one's friends, please even one's wife: a harmless delicacy, with the light brown skin that seems to glitter like a sunny fall afternoon, and the bright eyes.
I thought she was sleeping--we had both fallen asleep, after the Sunday brunch and the long love session. When I woke up, she was breathing deeply and slowly. I rested for a while, and decided that I could write a little.
I smiled. She loves me more than she should. Then I thought about her question. What is a muse, really?
“Yes, of course you are.”
But she didn't buy my answer, not the this-is-what-you-want-to-hear answer that women taught me to give them. The truth is that Tracy had barely inspired me to write one scene, and it was not more than the description of a great sex session we once had.
“I'm not,” she said, sadly.
I quickly tried to assemble a list of my muses, trying to deceive myself for a moment. All sorts of people had inspired me to write a story, or a character or two; friends, people I met once, strangers I glimpsed on the street, girlfriends. But more than anything, the girls I once desired but never got, whatever the reason. The one who was married, the one who I never had the guts to ask out, the one who was too old for my then young self, the one who was too beautiful and too dumb, the one who went abroad, taking my heart away with her. And Suzette, whom I still love, who knows I still love her, who has never let me get close to her, and who has inspired me half a dozen stories and twice as many characters.
“Yes, you are. Why would you think otherwise?”
I feel sorry for Tracy. She shouldn't love me this much. Or maybe I should love her more. I'm afraid that I'll end up hurting her feelings. Tracy met Suzette once, at a party, and didn't seem to notice to my feelings for her. Maybe I hide them well. Or not, given her question.
“I don't know.” She glanced down, then up again, like a little girl who wants to say something but can't, and expects the grown up to guess it.
“You are my muse.”
She nodded. I got up and sat by her side, and made her turn on her back. I gazed at her beautiful body, so delightful, the small breasts with long nipples, the flatness of her stomach and the wide hips, which she can sway so sensually. I started to caress her, as if there was nothing else in the world to do.
“You know I love you, don't you?” I asked her. She nodded, her eyes serious, the tension on her shoulders so strong that I could actually see it. Tracy was there, open, unprotected, and yet I thought of Suzette, wishing for a split second, before I could even grasp the thought, that Suzette were the one lying there.“More than anything else?” I said. She nodded again. I kissed her, on the lips, on her neck, on her right nipple.
“I was not going to tell you this until it was finished. I'm writing a book, and you inspired the main character.” I could see her eyes lighting up. “You are my muse.” She pulled me to her, kissing me deeply, her tongue anxious for me, her hands grabbing me, while I was wondering if I'd have the strength to make love to her again, and if she'd recognize herself in the character I had shaped after Suzette.
I am more inspired by the misery of uncorresponded love than by this woman who loves me too much; I draw more from my pangs than I could draw of Tracy's love. Or even, and I am so sure of that, of Suzette's love, if she had any for me.
The artist, creative when hungry and poor, amorphous when recognized and successful.