A new day is breaking, so what’ll I do ’til it breaks?

Nothing is more beautiful than early morning paint among the clouds. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
Nothing is more beautiful than early morning paint among the clouds. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

I AM ALONE on the patio.

The morning is still dark.

The sun has not yet turned over in its bed for the second time.

No creatures are stirring.

The birds were still writing a new song they would sing at daybreak.

It is just me.

The wind.

And the wind chimes.

Then here comes the Muse from out of Linda’s Secret Garden.

He is perplexed.

I am perplexed.

It is a perplexing morning.

“Why aren’t you at your word machine?” he asks.

The Muse never says hello.

“No reason to,” I tell him.

“Why not?”

“Caleb and Linda Pirtle is going dark on Thursday.”

“What difference does that make?”

“I’ve already loaded the site for Wednesday.”

“So?”

“So I’ve got nothing to do.”

The Muse sits down beneath the red and white striped umbrella.

He takes a sip of my coffee.

He props his boots on the table.

“Why is Caleb and Linda Pirtle going dark?” he asks.

“We’re making changes.”

“Are you changing focus?”

“No. We’re still dead set on connecting readers, writers, and books.”

“Why change?”

“The industry is changing. We know authors are searching for ways to increase the chances of their books being discovered. We know authors are desperately looking for new and better ways to sell books.”

“Can you do that?”

“We think we can.”

“How.”

“By increasing the loyal number of readers for their books.”

“Are you smart enough to do that?”

“No. But my marketing team is.”

I think I see a crease of daylight in the sky. Then again, it may just be my imagination.

“Y & R PR has developed an innovative new program that can build thousands of new readers on a daily or monthly basis,” I tell him. “At Caleb and Linda Pirtle, we will be bringing exciting new books to a large number of new readers, as well as bringing a horde of those new readers to authors.”

“When are you going live again?”

“We are aiming for October 1.”

“What will the site look like?”

“I don’t know.”

“What will it read like?”

“I don’t have a clue.”

“When will you find out?”

“Probably September 30.”

“Are you worried?”

“No.” I shrug. “I’m bored.”

“Why?”

“I get up every morning at four o’clock and load Caleb and Linda Pirtle for the day. Now I get up and watch the dark turn to light. I have nothing to do.”

“That’s your fault,” the Muse says.

“How do you figure?”

“You’re a wrier, aren’t you.”

I nod.

“You write books, don’t you?”

I nod again.

“Go write a book,” he says.

There it is.

Now I see it for certain.

A new day is breaking.

It breaks without a sound.

“I think I’ll write a memoir,” I say.

“Who cares about your life?” the Muse asks.

“Nobody.”

“Then why write a memoir?”

“Because I talk to strangers, and strangers have fascinating stories to tell.”

“Does it have any romance?”

“A little.”

“Any violence?”

“I’ve talked to a murderer or two.”

“Any humor?”

“Some of their stories made me laugh.”

The Muse stands uo. “You’ve got thirty days to finish it,” he says.

“That may be enough,” I say.

The Muse has nothing else to say. He simply walks away, and I watch him fade into the roses on the far side of the garden.

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