The life of a muse – “Showroom of perfections”

16 05 2011


Just like every morning for the last 10 years, I wake up to an email from Payne.

“I wrote this last night – no big deal, just threw a few sentences on the page to see if they stick”

Yes, Payne, just like the way you cook spaghetti, slinging them on the wall and if they stick, they are done, I think.

“It would be so helpful if you could just give it a quick look-over, no big deal, shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes, tops. I need to know if it makes sense. Thanks, P.”

No big deal. Yeah right.

It’s a fucking big deal to read a maniac’s writing. I can just imagine his night: after a few hours of Indie-Porn, compulsively watching real people do real weird shit to themselves and others, he panics and writes a few pages. On whatever drug he’s on, pot and speed, sleepers and painkillers, those pages are, well to say it kindly, just chaotic and incomprehensible.

Instead of going to work or taking care of my own business, I settle down to the “no big deal ten minutes” reading of his drugged and early morning outpours.

But since he’s so out of it when he writes on the nights I’m not with him, those “no big deal ten minutes” stretches out to an hour before I even comprehend what he is trying to say. After another hour of intense concentration and focus, I usually get an idea of what I’m reading. I edit and correct sentences that have no end and no beginning and like a snake, eating itself, they always wind up at the beginning of the sentence and go nowhere.

What am I supposed to do? He’s the famous and successful writer and I’m just his wife with a lot of experience of reading books. But books that are edited and make sense most of the time.

“Baby, your ear is worth gold, I don’t know what I’d do without your sense”, he tells me all the time. “I always wanted a women who gets me and you do. It’s like Simone de Bouvoir and Satre, this is what I always wanted”

I love to hear this. I need to hear this. Since my work and my life are so small compared to his, I glow in the honor and the trust he gives me. Of course, I will not disappoint him. My life, my work, my lowly design work pales compared to his genius and his brilliance.

I ignore calls from stores and from my job – I will deal with this later, Payne comes first. I need him to need me more than I want to have my own success.

Three or four hours later, I’m finally done with editing and reconstructing his mess of words. I send it back, edited, with comments that I hope sound smart and effortless, write encouraging and praising comments about how brilliant and better then ever his latest work is and rush to my own job.

I want him to think that I’m smart and quick to understand, I want him to Know that I “get him”, so I never let on that it took me hours to do this “no big deal”.

But the reality is, my own work has become a side –project, something I do when Payne doesn’t require my attention. My work suffers. I get fired from jobs, I lose orders and I’m a fuck-up as a designer.

And since I’m a fuck-up, I’m always broke. Payne sends me checks for ten grand every time I mention that I’m broke and most of the time he’s graceful and generous about it. He loves me. Money is love. Money is his way to show that I matter and I take it, even though I was brought up to earn for myself and to not rely on a man to save me every time I miss a dead line.

I take my lap-top to work with the crazy Maroocans and pretend to fine-tun designs when I’m really editing Payne’s words.

But somehow, with a lot of missed sleep and nervous tension, I do manage to design my own collections somewhere between my binges and purges, picking my daughter up from school, drive her to ballet classes, piano lessons and soccer games.

I show up at his/our house with a garment bag full of new samples and pride and joy and insecurity about my creations. I hang everything up on his windowsills and wait with a beating heart for his input. Finally, he walks in from god knows where. He looks so darn sexy and handsome n his Dior suit and I know better than to ask where he was.

“Payne, baby, please look at my new collection, what do you think?” I ask breathlessly and proud.

He takes in my offering and puts his hands over his eyes.

“Baby, I’m sorry, but I can’t bear to look at this. All I can see is how you’re going to fuck up on your deliveries and how everybody is gonna rip you off, steal your designs and how I’m the one bailing you out one more time.”

“Just look at it! You have such great taste and it means the world to me what you think,” I beg.

“No. I just can’t. It kills me” he sighs and disappears inside his pantry that is filled with supplements, magic potions and vitamins of all kinds. He gulps down handfuls of pills and powders and starts to mix himself a green and vile looking shake in his food processor. He drinks it all and leaves the remnants of it in his sink and on the counter, a mess of ill smelling slop, no doubt to be cleaned up by me when I wake up.

I gather my samples and stick them back into my garment bag.

His lips are green when he finishes his “drink” and I try not to be disgusted. I’m disappointed and angry, but I have learned to hide my feelings – nothing ever comes from showing my disappointment, but another break-up.

I lock myself into my bathroom, wash my face and while the water runs, I vomit the contents of my stomach into the toilet. I follow up with a can of enzymes for the septic tank, responsible not to overwhelm his system with my bulimic escapades. Than I swallow 60 mg of Temazepam and clean my body. He doesn’t like that I clean myself, he likes it pungent and dirty, but I draw the line at this. I lie down next to him and savor the moment the sleep meds kick in and make me forget how sad I am.

I’m a mindless fuck-doll for his pleasure, numbed out and half asleep when he grabs me from behind and does his thing. I don’t care. I go along with what he asks me to do, I fake a mind-blowing orgasm and when he is done with me, I pass out. The last thing I notice before I fall into my drugged sleep is that he gets up. I hear the banging of his fingers on the computer upstairs – after sex he always writes.

Hours later, I have no idea how much time has passed, he crashes into his side of the bed and grabs me from behind in a tight embrace. I know that he has made my five bags tea for me that is waiting in my bathroom when I wake up. It’s those lovely, thoughtful gestures that make me forget that he refuses to look at my own creations.

He holds me so tight, how could I not feel loved? No one has ever held me like this. He loves me. He loves me. I “get him”. I’m his women, his everything and so what the fuck that he cannot look at my work? I am a fuck-up; I’ve proved it to him and to me.

At least he respects my intellect and trusts me to read his work that is so much better than what I could ever do. At least, he makes tea for me. At least he holds on to me like his life depends on me. I am right there when he shoots up from his nightmares, screaming and crying or laughing hysterically. My life is his. He owns me and isn’t this what I always wanted? Somebody who needs me. He could have everybody he wants, movie stars and rock-stars, or at least a powerful Hollywood mover to pave the way for him. Or a heiress. Or a black, sexy girl, 20 years younger with a firm and big ass.

But he choose me. For whatever reasons, he wants me to be there in his bed and read and edit his work.

But where, where the hell am I?



5 responses

21 05 2011
Jeff Bozem

Your storys always take me away…but more and more I find myself so impressed with your sentence’s and just the tight structure you reign all those amazing words in under.
“Like a snake , eating itself”….perfect!!

27 05 2011

Ugh! A friend forwarded me your blog, reminding me of the stories I would tell her about being the muse to a fu*ked up semi-famous writer. I read a few paragraphs thinking I could get through it no problem since my “Payne” went away. Although my “Payne” went away, reading this was a bit too muddy and the thought of a painful prick returned. lol.

27 05 2011
Monah Li

I want to thank you for your reply. I’m writing this because I want to lift the secrecy of those addictions that are so little talked about, bulimia and Love-adiction and whenever I hear from somebody who read it that they relate, I feel encouraged to keep going on writing this memoir. So, how is life without your “Payne”? Mine is unbelievably rich and if not always beautiful and perfect, it is MINE.
All my best,
Monah Li

1 08 2011

You’re right about one thing, this isn’t about me. I have not put my disfunction on display for the world to see while blaming other people for it. If you can’t handle constructive criticism you should think again before writing in public.
And a little professional advice: monitor closely the lies you tell.

1 08 2011
Monah Li

You actually have done just that with your “professional advice” and “constructive criticism”: You’ve put your own disfunction on display for the whole world to see while blaming other people.
Now go and mind your own business – I have a story to write.
Good bye!

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