Let’s not confuse a muse with an influence, or inspiration. A muse, for me as a writer, is someone who gets in so deep on a level so non-personal it’s personal and I find it ridiculous that it can even happen. And they always find me. Influences or people or places who inspire are more times than not discovered by me, but a muse comes flying in on its little musey wings and refuses to leave no matter how much I swat it away. I’ve never personally known a muse, and I really only have ever had three (not including John DB). Two I met. One I would love to meet. They’re all men. And I didn’t try to find them.
The daddy of all muses was and is Brett Scallions. He was also my first. The first time I heard Fuel’s song Shimmer back in 1999 I thought, what a unique voice. What a passionate, strong, God-given voice. And the song was so catchy yet so unlike anything I’d ever heard before; how many things in my life were now too far away for me to hold? Brett knew, and he was singing about it just for me. Only at that time I didn’t know his name was Brett, didn’t know what he looked like, just loved the voice, went out and bought the cd. Sadly, I liked nothing else on it, just Shimmer. And when I looked at the band pic on the back; nothing stood out (translate, I didn’t think anyone was hot). I downloaded Shimmer onto my computer, forgot about the rest.
2000 Hemorrhage was all over the radio and I loved it. Again, that guy’s voice. Went out and bought the cd, listened to it and only liked Hemorrhage. Still no one hot in the band photo. File away.
April 2001. I am in the process of moving, packing up boxes, MTV is on for noise. A video comes on. Fuel’s Hemorrhage. I stop to look at it. And that’s when I saw Brett. Really saw him. All tight pants and rock star snarl and I was frozen. I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at. I had to ask my bff, my roommate, my partner in crime Arty Party to stop what she was doing and come look at it, too. Yes, I called Brett “it.” She came and stood beside me and we both stared at the television. “What do you think of that?” I asked her. She paused a moment before saying, “I’m not sure.” I had to ask: “Do I like that?” Another pause before, “Yeah. I think you do.” And I did. But there was almost something perverted about admiring him. His build put me in mind of a twelve-year-old boy. Arty Party went so far as to call him a pelvic pokey pokey, that puberty stage boys go through when they’re all thrusting hips, that thing between their legs a heat-seeking missile that leads them around, jutting out at will, pick me pick me, demanding to be satisfied. But I loved the way Brett looked, moved, the way he sounded, and after watching an MTV taping of a concert Fuel performed at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, he was now the star of my first serious novel.