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Tue, Aug. 20

Muse offers amusing collaboration to scribe

There she was, sitting on the edge of my desk, her legs crossed provocatively, wearing this tight, white dress, and smiling at me in a sultry kind of way. She looked like Sharon Stone, to tell you the truth.

"Who are you?" I asked breathlessly.

"I'm your new Muse," she answered.

Stunned, I asked her, "What's a Muse, what are you doing here, and if you are what I think you are, why haven't you been here for me over the past 14 years when I really needed you?"

"First of all," she said, "haven't you grasped the virtue of writing and speaking in short sentences? Secondly, I'm a specialty Muse. I fill a niche market, in this case to provide you with ideas and help with your writing. Thirdly, you obviously need help with your columns and since I recently finished with another client, your name came up to the top of my list. Finally, I've been extraordinarily busy the past 14 years working with other writers and you weren't a priority."

"OK, but how come now and how come me?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, what elevated you to the top of my list was your love for Gershwins' music. You like to listen to him while you work – as I do. So, I decided 'why not?' Let's enjoy George and Ira together and see if we can't turn out a few good columns. Besides, you and I will only be together part-time – I'm working with several other writers, too."

"Sounds good to me. By the way, how did you become such a fan of the Gershwins?"

"Hold on to your hat; I was their Muse. Not when they began. I was working with another guy when they published their first song, 'The Real American Folk Song is a Rag,' in 1918. But I loved their tunes and offered my services in 1920 and remained with them until George's death in 1937."

"Incredible. What did you do for them?"

"I was sort of a silent collaborator. You know, they agreed with me that to acknowledge my presence would likely be a distraction from their work. The public wouldn't understand. So, I just gave them ideas from time to time."

"How about an example?"

"When they were composing 'Porgy and Bess,' Ira was hav-ing trouble with the song 'It Ain't Necessarily So.' Well, I've lived a pretty long life and had a few perspectives that were different from theirs. I gave Ira this line for Sportin' Life to sing: 'Me-thus' -lah lived nine hundred years/ But who call dat liv-in'/ When no gal'll give in/ To no man what's nine hundred years?'"

"All right. I got you. Let's go to work. What do you think about …"

(Ron Barnes is a longtime Prescott resident and a semi-retired educator and businessman.)

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