The writer also chose to grapple with the mystery of music. I was against the idea at first; I hate music. I had it shoved down my throat from inception and performing for the visitors put me off the lute for lives. Be that as it may, the writer thought it was a thematic thread and unearthed a mentor who encouraged this tack.

The mentor sent the writer a laundry list of instruments that could be pertinent to each chapter. He helped her narrow them down to things that can be bowed and plucked.  The writer confided in in the mentor that, she was a guitarist in her early youth. Not a very good one at that. She’d also studied jazz guitar for several years and was only now learning to comp, a method in which she can both sing and play at the same time by overlapping rhythm with improvisation.  Anyway, I was much better at the kithara than she could ever be. A few meetings with her secret mentor at the chilly WAM coffee shop brought much enlightenment to the writer.  But she had to do the research alone. And it had to resonate.

One evening, after a particularly nasty roast, she took to her bed and started surfing for inspiration. There was always going to be a Pleroma; an in-between world, part purgatory, part Sun City, whence I return between lives to regroup. How I get there is always through some kind of death; we reached that conclusion after the first few months. There are more ways to die than there are chapters able to be written in such a short time. We’ll save some of the juicier ones for later.

As she flicked through her iPhone, a post, uploaded by an Argentinian tango dancer she’d recently met in the East Village, assailed her semi-conscious senses.  A two-thousand-year old mosaic of the muses had been discovered at the very same time that the writer had been accepted on the course.

This gave the writer a new tack to follow. In my first death, after Carta and the business with Yossi and the accidental poisoning, I first came to in the Pleroma and met Pan, the goat god. I liked that because Pan was a muso, after all; carved up that poor Syrinx when he couldn’t have her and inadvertently invented the reed pipe. Somehow it all came out in poetry. It was suggested that the writer has me take refuge in rhyme at the very moment I experience a sense of vulnerability. I must speak to her about that one.  

So, the muses replaced Pan, nine of them in total, still emerging from the mists of their mystification to become the enablers of my writer’s quest. Right now (August 2016), they remain amorphous, any of them could be replaced by any other, but the writer is working on giving them their individual voices and their roles in my story. This of course, suggests the Greek chorus, for which the muses must have posed in many a tale of stage, screen and paper.

She’s made up a rhyme scheme to remember them by; it goes in dactylic hexameter, so I’m told:  Clio and Callie; Erato, Euterpe; Terpsichore, Thalia; Polly and Mel … Urania. Scans well for Dravidian duets. Jazz trios. Choirs of the Invisible. Ad infinitum.

During another of her CyberCyde ramblings, the writer stumbled across a medieval engraving in which muses, planets, Greek musical notation and a Kundalini snake were intertwined in pulsing black and white pixels. It was preordained. And so the musical and imaginary threads of the story are now dictated by those pesky muses demanding a series of nine instruments, notes and tones from the world of antiquity to the world of the present. The writer likes the idea of the twelve. I’ve convinced her to go for nine. It’s a nice round number.