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In school, we are all taught that the writing process has several clearly defined steps that must be followed in order to produce a good work of literature. If my memory serves me correctly, these are Prewriting, Rough Draft, Revision, and Final Draft, with editing in differing amounts between each step. I may not have listed everything correctly though, because I (like most of us fair to mediocre writers) do not follow this process. There are many reasons that people refuse to conform to these guidelines. For some, it is the lack of time; others only percieve that they lack the time, and still others are too impatient. While I am an impatient man, I would say that my reason for not following the time-tested rules of How To Write fits none of those catagories, and his name is Rufus.

Call me crazy if you like, but Rufus is my muse. Most people think that having a muse would be a wonderful thing and save them loads of time. It makes sense, actually; the muse takes over, you take a mental break on the astral plane, and when you come to, your english literature assignment is all done, right? WRONG! If a muse were this benign, I'd have ten of the little buggers in my head. Shoot, I'd even try and get a german muse to help me in my 102 section. In all reality, muses are rude, reclusive characters who have absolutely no consideration for the minds they inhabit, and may Heaven help you if your muse is Union (as is Rufus). Rufus doesn't like to work when I am at my desk, or sitting under a tree with my note book, or anywhere or when that I would really like him to work. Typically, Rufus works only when I am in the middle of something far more important or I have been awake far longer than any human should be. (I say typically because he is a telecommuter on a flextime schedule, so NOBODY in my brain has the foggiest clue when he's supposed to be working or even if he is in fact working at those unidentifiable times.) What this means is that I will probably be at a party attempting conversation with some attractive lady when Rufus decides to give me something. He could just wait outside my mental office while my hormones and I are taking care of more serious bussiness, but that just isn't how "The Rufus" works. No, he comes barging in, throws my perfectly civilized hormones out the door, and slams whatever great idea he's come up with in my face. I could live with this if he didn't tell me that he was going to shred it in about thirty seconds. I must chase him on the way to the shredder, frantically writing down whatever he reads to me off of his page. It's a bizzare and unfriendly system, but my mind does get good excercise on those runs.

In the real world, this very attractive young lady watches her conversational partner go through a three-step process as follows:
1) As she watches, I begin to stare at some random objct behind her with the same intensity most men stare at her breasts.
2) My mouth falls open, head cocks slightly to one side, and my eybrows knit. (As you can imagine, I now look like a complete fool.)
3) Out of nowhere, I shout "Oh shit!" and run off in search of a notebook and pencil.

Speaking of pencils, Rufus will demand that I use a pencil sometimes. Seriously, he does, and those times don't have any discernable pattern. For example, I recently posted a story entitled "Life" that will be undergoing severe editing in the very near future, and that editing will be with a pencil. It doesn't matter that the original was written in a word processor and it would be far easier to edit that way; all that matters is that "The Rufus" wants it done with a stupid pencil. (Luckily, he hasn't waxed nostalgic and demanded a non-mechanical pencil just yet.) Then and only then will Rufus work, having his every freakish desire provided for to ensure his delight. Meanwhile, I'm stuck trying to edit a poem on a wax tablet while in the lotus position while watching a bowl of green jello. I only pray the freak knows what he's doing.
SO there you have it; this is why I don't follow The Writing Process. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get some paper, a pencil and a mackerel. Don't ask.

------
"You have lied to me, my dear Morpheous, and I have ended our little game; I wonder if I fear the truth more than your lies?"
-TRA


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