Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Visit From My Muse

This time it was a fashionable bar in San Francisco's Union Square district. I don't know why, but it's always a different city.

Her jaw dropping beauty dazzled me at first - it always does. As if to mock the passage of time she dressed this time as if it were 1986, with her blonde hair slightly teased and in an outfit that could have been from a ZZ Top video. This was a bit of a change and it would have made any other woman look less than reputable, but the intelligence and intensity in her eyes made certain no one would ever make that mistake.

Those piercing blue eyes looked through me as she inquired to what I was up to, although, of course, she already knew. She sort of smirked while she listened, running a finger in slow circles around the lip of her martini glass, taking in what I said.

"That's it?!" she asked. "That's all you're doing? Sounds about the same as when I visited you in Seoul back in '99."

"I've had a few set-backs since then."

"What was it you promised me when you were 17? That you would "conquer the world and lay it at my feet"? I'd say you haven't gotten very far on that goal."

"I was young and naive then."

"No, you were cocky and optimistic. You didn't know what problems lay in your path so you ignored them. Now you find problems where they don't exist."

"I also have responsibilities I didn't have then. A kid, a mortgage..."

"Look, I'm not interested in hearing your 30-something angst. I'm here to remind you of a few things. First, you only have about 30 years left to work, so you are now about a third of the way done. What have you accomplished? And you have about 50 years left to live, so you're coming up on the half-way point on your life pretty quick. I'm telling you now that if you are going to do all the things you wanted to do that time is running out."

In the disjointed way of dreams we were suddenly continuing the conversation outside, walking arm in arm along the sidewalk. Somehow I was taller, although she was in stiletto heals.

"I thought you were supposed to inspire me."

"I AM inspiring you. Inspiration isn't just serving up ideas on a silver platter. I also cajole, berate and threaten. Just like that old football coach of yours."

"I got the cajole and berate. What's the threat?"

"Regret. James Barrie put it better than I could, but then I was the one who inspired him to write it:

The life of every man
is a diary in which
he means to write one
story, and writes
another; and his
humblest hour is when
he compares the volume
as it is with what he
vowed to make it.

Then she leaned over and put her head close to mine and whispered into my ear "So how are your volumes comparing so far?"

With that she left me, leaving me awake in the middle of the night to think about what she said.

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