Welcome to The Muse
The Muse is an invitation into a writer’s mind. Into all the things we writers think about, wonder and worry about, are inspired and/or confused by, and get all hot and bothered about. We are strange creatures, I must warn you. Strange but infinitely fascinating.
The Muse is also a slide down the diverging rabbit holes of creativity, intelligence, ingenuity, technology, society, and psychology. The enigma of superposition isn’t limited to quantum physics… or perhaps it’s better said that quantum physics may or may not one day solve the enigma of the human mind.
The Muse explores the vast potential and the infinite troubles of human beings in a world that has become so painfully polarized, fragmented, and institutionalized that we’re starting to run the risk of losing our individual and collective humanity—and never discovering the deeper mysteries of the forces that shape existence itself, and have mystified us since the dawn of our kind. That would be a shame, because we are oh so close. Mathematically speaking.
More on the impact of that on us creators here.
We plumb the depths of what it means to live, play, and work in a world increasingly infused with artificial intelligence and related technologies. Poke holes in a few misconceptions while we’re at it. Connect dots we didn’t even know were dots. And forge new paths to staying creative, productive, and sane through it all.
What’s this subscription thing
Human writers, unlike bots, need to eat physical food and pay actual bills. Ultimately, having your own paid publication is a better business model than depending purely on the 9-to-5, or on freelance gigs that can dry up the minute a unicorn dissolves into a puddle of worthless stock. Or Fortune 500 clients that decide at the tip of a hat they need to dissolve their marketing budget.
There are three ways to sign up and get lots o’ love from The Muse:
Free subscription: $0 a month. You can read anything that’s public, including the excerpts of my stories in the Café.
Monthly paid subscription: $7 a month. That’s the cost of a Tiramisu cup at Paris Baguette (ya, I know, they’ve gotten so expensive!). It’s also the cost of a Dark Chocolate Ginger Rose Coconut Mylk bar from Endorfin Foods. Or their Turmeric Cardamom Black Pepper bar (no they’re not paying me, I just love them). I can also get paid in chocolate, email me and we’ll work it out.
You get access to the paid posts, including all the stories from Backstage.
Annual paid subscription: $75 a year. That works out to $6.25 a month. You get everything the Monthly subscribers receive, plus a physical copy of one of my books as a thank-you gift. You choose the book.
The Muse Society: $220 a year. You get everything the Annual subscribers receive, plus… a Book-to-Bar gift set shipped anywhere in the continental U.S. once a year. That’s a $25 value. Treat yourself, a loved one, a friend, or a random person you met on a flight.
Note: When you get to the “Choose a subscription plan page,” you won’t see the thank-you book gift listed under the “Annual” plan b/c Substack doesn’t allow us to distinguish between monthly and annual. Have to write to them about that. But you’ll get the book.
The muse behind The Muse
I don’t wear hats anymore, the stack got so tall they all flew off in the wind. But there are plenty. Novelist. Journalist. Poet. Publisher. International speaker. Documentary filmmaker. Photographer. Entrepreneur and business owner. Marketing executive. PR gal. Technical writer. Kayaker. Dancer. Chocolate judge. Traveler. And my favorite, Mama.
In my day job, I advise climate tech startups, design and execute marketing and content strategies, and speak on panels about AI and the creator economy. In my spare time, I train wild birds to patronize my mini seed bar, judge chocolate, and cook up ways to confuse young PR professionals at their offsites (ask me sometime for my Lake Tahoe offsite story).
In 2016, I was brought onboard the creative writing team building the Google Assistant. I speak 5.5 languages, so they hired me for Spanish, and then French, and a little Italian too (pro tip: don’t ever tell your brand new client how many languages you speak). In essence, we taught the Assistant how to
speak respond to user questions in different languages. We didn’t know it then, but the work we did was just the beginning of an explosive evolution of the AI field.
Some fun did-ya-know facts:
I kissed a live piranha in South America. And lived to tell. It was a fishing expedition in the middle of nowhere in the river plains of Colombia, in a lagoon hidden from the main river. We had to ply our way through a meandering tributary stream only accessible at certain times of the year, and only known to the natives. We caught a red-bellied piranha. I wanted to kiss it before we let it go. Still sad it never kissed me back—or turned into a prince.
A real Baron Münchhausen lives in Malta. And I met him. I was on assignment for The Hollywood Reporter, to write an article about The Gladiator (yes, the film, and yes, I did see Russell Crowe). I met the Baron at a public bus stop. He immediately pitched me on a blockbuster historical fiction film about Turkey and Malta; then he tried to impress me with his degree in phyto-bio-physics and the millions of dollars he was making as we spoke, and when that didn’t work, he offered to take me along for a one-man sting operation to take down the heroin drug cartel of Malta (that one I politely declined).
I took a stream of ants on a high-speed ride on the freeway when they tried to colonize my EV. Note: ants will not fly off your car no matter how fast you drive, so don’t try. Hose them off and put a cotton ball infused with essential oil of peppermint inside the car. Cinnamon works wonders too. Also, if you can figure out how to productize the glue that makes those little buggers stick to metallic surfaces, I’m sure you’ll make millions.
I’m an international chocolate judge. Seriously. I’ve served as a judge for the International Chocolate Salon since 2018. You might think it’s easy but it’s a really tough job. Your tongue gets sore. Your taste buds fight—and sometimes try to gaslight you. You have to work out daily to keep your jaw muscles in shape (not to lose weight, silly, that whole thing is a myth). You “have” to learn professional tabletop photography (how else are you going to do those drop-dead-gorgeous truffles justice?) Oh and you don’t get paid. You just get chocolate Christmas twice a year. And no I’ve never had chocolate-covered ants (did you have to ask?)
Got questions? I got mylk.
If you have questions about AI’s role in the creative professions or want to suggest a topic for a future post, let me know! I can’t promise I’ll write about every suggested idea but they will all be processed through my own personal organic neural network (i.e., read).