here in the world is my songwriting muse? It's that little light switch that goes on in my brain whenever I get ready to write a hit song. It's my inspiration. My mojo. And for some reason it's playing hide-and-seek from me when I really need to work on this song for my sophomore album.
I never had a problem finding my muse before. In fact, I never had to look for it. I only had to take out a pen and a notepad and let the words flow. It wasn't work. It was like breathing. Now, I'm sitting on the leather sofa in my parlor with a pen and a pad, and nothing is coming out.
“DeShawn! You need to get these dishes out of the sink right now! You don't have a maid picking up behind you.” Gia's afro sways in time with her screams as she stands at the bottom of our enormous spiral staircase.
DeShawn screams back. “We
have a maid picking up behind us!”
“Well, she's not here now, so you need to clean up behind yourself! I know your mama taught you better than that!”
DeShawn comes out of the bedroom and leans over the staircase. He's wearing a tank top that shows off his great biceps, and even though he needs a fresh haircut and a shower, he still is incredibly gorgeous.
“Why you gotta put my mama off up in this?” Deshawn fusses.
I throw my notebook across the floor, which stops their argument cold. Both Gia and DeShawn stare at me.
“Dang, Sunday, what's wrong with you?” Gia asks.
“I'm trying to work!” I say.
“It's the weekend,” DeShawn says. “Why are you working? We're supposed to be going to the Chi Kappa Psi party, right?”
I shake my head. “No party for me. I've got to come up with some songs for my record, and y'all aren't helping with all this yelling.”
“Um . . . I'm not trying to be funny, but this house has like a gazillion square feet and you have a master's suite. Why don't you go and find a quiet place?” Gia asks.
“I didn't feel like being cooped up in my bedroom, and the sun is on this side of the house!”
“So you need the sun to write a song?” DeShawn asks. “Are you a plant, now?”
Did I say moving into a house with my six best friends was a good idea? It did start out well. I bought this huge mansion in Buckhead and there was enough room for my besties Gia, Piper, Hope and the boys. Ricky and Kevin are best friends and they've known Gia and Hope since they were all toddlers. DeShawn is my kind of, almost sorta boyfriend, but not really. We're like an unbreakable clique at this point, so it seemed logical for them to come with me when I moved off campus.
It's been two months and I'm already ready to evict all six of them. Gia and DeShawn fight non-stop about everything from dinner to whether to party or not. And especially chores. Kevin likes blasting his gospel music before anyone wakes up. He gets up at five so that he can “spend time with the Lord.” It makes me feel like a heathen to complain, so I don't. Ricky walks around in a constant melancholy state, because he and Gia are in love but broken up. It's a long story that even I don't understand. Piper and Hope are the gossip girls that talk incessantly. I mean it's non-stop with them. Once, Piper fell asleep in the middle of a sentence. Then, she woke up and continued the story the next morning.
I pick up my notebook and pen and leave Gia and DeShawn to their current epic battle and take my non-muse-having self out to the pool deck. Where, of course, Piper is laying out trying to bronze herself in a teeny-tiny bikini. Her long hair spreads out on the pool chair like a fan.
“Hey, Sunday,” she says. “Sit here! You want a smoothie?”
I start to object, but instead I shrug and sit down on the pool chair next to Piper. “What kind of smoothie?”
“Coconut, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach.”
I twist my face into a frown. “So that explains the green tint, huh?”
“Yes, but I promise you can't taste the spinach. It'll give you energy.”
“Will it help me write songs? Because I'm not feeling this right now, and I need to record at least one this week. Evan is starting to nag me about the project.”
Evan is the head of my record label, Reign Records, and he's pretty stressed out right now because my cousin Dreya, aka Drama, has a new album about to drop, and he wants to follow it up with mine. He's planning a summer tour with me and Dreya, but I know it's not going to happen. Dreya is almost three months pregnant with Evan's baby, but I'm the only other person in the world who knows.
Dreya not being able to tour is going to put more pressure on me to have a hot record. I think that's what's making me so stressed out. Evan stole my muse. He's a muse snatcher.
“I know why you can't write your songs,” Piper says after taking a swig of her green goop.
“Okay, since you know everything, tell me what's wrong with me.”
“You have lost your balance, because your love life is a hot mess.”
I roll my eyes, lie back on the chair, and toss my notebook on the ground. I don't know about my love life being a mess. It's nonexistent.
“You need to call Sam and talk to him,” Piper continues. “Once you have closure in that situation, you'll be free and clear to be creative again.”
“Who are you anyway? Dr. Phil?”
Piper grins and says, “I consider myself more of a white Iyanla Vanzant.”
“Oh my goodness. If you watch one more show on that Oprah channel, I'm going to get the cable turned off!”
“Hater! Kevin and I are trying to improve ourselves. We are on the cusp of greatness.”
I narrow my eyes and purse my lips together. “What does cusp mean?”
“I'm not sure, but Iyanla said it last night, so I know it's something I want.”
I give her a blank stare and an extra heavy gigantic sigh.
Piper laughs out loud. “You can try to change the subject if you want to, but it doesn't change the fact that you need to call Sam.”
I broke up with Sam because I thought he was playing me with a girl named Rielle, but then she showed up at my house saying that it was all a misunderstanding and that even though she really likes Sam, he never gave her the time of day. So, basically the reason we broke up is not even a real reason.
But even before I thought that Sam and Rielle were kicking it on the low, Sam and I were still growing apart. He'd started smoking weed in New York City, he dropped out of school, and made out with a random chick after somebody dropped some Ecstasy in his drink.
Our relationship was already on the rocks and Rielle pushed it over the cliff.
While my heart was broken into a gazillion little pieces, DeShawn stepped in and got my attention. He took care of me, brought me food, made me laugh, and helped me forget that I was hurting. DeShawn really likes me, and even though I didn't do it on purpose, I started to like him too. So even though I want to talk to Sam, I'm not sure if it would be fair to DeShawn.
It would be easy if I didn't have to see Sam or deal with him. But every time I see him in the studio, the unspoken words hang in the air like rain cloudsâheavy and ready to burst.
“I can't call Sam. Too much time has passed, and it would just be weird now.”
“Okay. I'm just gonna call you Sunday Tolliverâthe one-hit wonder. I hope they let me be in the
Behind the Music
special about you. I will say great things about you though.”
“Piper . . .”
“No, seriously. You might never write another song if you don't talk to Sam.”
“Oh, shut up. I'll call him.”
Piper claps her hands and squeals. “Yay! You're going to get back together, I know it!”
“Wait a minute. I thought you liked DeShawn.”
“Well, sure I do. How could I not like DeShawn? He's totally hot and super sweet.”
“Do you hear what you're saying?”
Piper nods. “DeShawn is not your true love and he doesn't inspire you. That's all Sam.”
“My true love? Who am I, Snow White or somebody?”
“You do look like a Princess Tiana doll.”
“I don't like you.”
“You love me! Call Sam. You'll thank me later.”
Okay, so Piper's logic makes no sense. One true love? My life may be on the fab side, but it definitely isn't a fairy tale. And Sam is more Rumpelstiltskin than Prince Charming.
Still, maybe it is time to have a talk with Sam. I have to try and see if it helps with the muse. I'm nobody's one-hit wonder. I've got a long way to go and a lot of money to make.
DeShawn steps out onto the deck, now freshly showered and wearing his swim trunks. I think I'm going to implement a rule where he has to wear a full shirt at all times. I'm just saying.
“Ladies . . .” he says before he takes three quick steps and launches himself into the heated pool.
“DeShawn sure is fine . . .” Piper says.
On second thought, is there time for me to pick another muse? I mean, I'm pretty sure I can find inspiration somewhere else. Right?
“Call him!” Piper says as if she's reading my mind.
I pull out my phone and send Sam a text. You in ATL?
His reply is almost immediate. Yes. Whuddup?
Can we meet? Need 2 talk.
No. Not there. I don't want to meet Sam at our favorite spot. Too weird and too many memories.
Over Big D's.
I'm already here.
I'll be there in a few.
Today I guess we'll deal with those rain clouds full of unspoken words. Hope Sam has his umbrella, 'cause if he says or does the wrong thing, I'm predicting some pretty stormy weather.