Contest for A New Muse
Here’s a list of the suggestions readers made for my new muse:
Fairie, Swamp Fairie
Ghost of Chuck Wagon cook
Thanks to all of you who responded to my request to help me find a new muse for my stories and books set in rural Florida. First, let me reassure my Northern muse, Fred the Ghost, that I do not intend to let him go. So, Fred, wherever you are spending the winter, rest assured that you’re still the one I depend upon for muserly inspiration when writing about Upstate New York. It’s true I’ve fired my alligator, but you’re not next to go, Fred, so please don’t do something nasty like set the house on fire (some of you are aware that Fred is quite the trickster and seems to like flames—he caused our truck to catch fire).
You provided me with a list of excellent suggestions from which I can choose. I shortened the inventory to three finalists. The criteria I used are multifaceted, but in general I decided I’d had quite enough of reptile inspiration from a muse. If I need a reptilian take on anything, I can just look out my window at the canal. I also determined that since I am not indigenous to Florida, I really needed a muse who was. I loved the many bird suggestions, but they have brains too much like reptiles as do amphibians—too little cortical matter, except perhaps for ravens, sometimes confused with crows who seem to be quite unique, yet there are too few of them in this area, and I don’t want to travel for inspiration. I’m not sure how to categorize fairies, ghosts or pixabays. But to be fair to every type of animal or other choice, I selected one from each category and wrote each a letter asking if they would be interested in becoming my muse. Here are the results of that endeavor:
- In the reptile category:
My letter to a Burmese python found its way to the dead letter office because of no forwarding address. I’m told you can walk right past one and not know it, unless, of course, it’s hungry.
- For Amphibians:
The response to my inquiry was simply a resounding “ribit” which I took to mean “Not interested.”
- For my bird selection, I tried to contact a bald eagle who indicated he and his mate would rather retain as much distant between themselves, their young and humans as possible. I can respect their concerns.
- The swamp fairies gave me much the same reply as the eagles (see above). I suspect this is because the swamps have been so poorly protected by humans.
The choices among the mammals that inhabit this part of rural Florida and could be contacted to assess their interest are these few:
Brahma Bull-suggested by my husband and not a bad choice if he can buy me a house large enough to accommodate an animal of that size. I’m not sure about the sitting on my shoulder and inspiring me thing, however. Anyway, I think his submission is a conflict of interest.
Skunk Ape-I couldn’t figure out how to make contact other than to sit out in the swamp and hope one wandered by.
Domestic cat-In all fairness, I had to ask my cats first, and they were too busy napping to be of much help. I fear this would happen when I most needed their input, although my female cat did type “55” and “89” on my computer once, and she’s still bragging about it.
These are the three mammals indigenous to rural Florida that are finalists:
Coyote, River Otter and Florida Panther
I love the sleekness of the otter and its playfulness as well as the stealth and beauty of the Florida panther, but my final choice must be the coyote. The coyote has demonstrated its ability to survive and fit in despite diminishing habitat. It is family-oriented, wise, clever and musical. I hear the coyotes sing almost every night here in rural Florida. I hope choosing one as my muse will mean it will sing to me and provide me with the inspiration to continue to write mysteries set in rural Florida featuring a sassy gal sleuth.
So, Naomi, you’re the winner, and I’ll be contacting you to find out which book you’d like. Thanks for helping me.
And now the question is, what is my coyote’s name? How about another contest? Name my coyote and, if I choose your suggestion, you can take your pick of a copy of Dumpster Dying or Grilled, Chilled and Killed.
Make your suggestions in the comments section or email them to me. I will announce the winner in two weeks. Next week I have a guest author on my blog.