Rory was coming to regard this long walk he was taking through Toronto with Bongo Bearance—his newly-acquired muse—as a genuine journey of discovery.  It was a rather compressed way, he decided, both of getting to know Bongo better, and of learning an awful lot about writing in a remarkably short time.  Bongo, he decided, was a good bargain.
     She was also cute as heck.  They were walking east along Hoskin Avenue, drifting past Trinity College and, at Bingo’s insistence, were about to turn north and stroll up Philosopher’s Walk to Bloor Street. 
     Rory reached over to take Bongo’s hand in his.  Bongo smiled sweetly and gently disengaged it from his tender, proffered grasp.  Rory looked unhappy about this.
     “It’s just that I don’t think muses ought to hold their authors’ hands, or…” she giggled, “anything else belonging to them.”  Rory looked crestfallen.
     “How come?”
     “Because if I’m supposed to be your Muse,” she told him, “we have to keep the channels clear.”
     “Yes.  I guess it’s sort of like what happens in a séance.  We can’t permit any sort of interference between us!
     “And you think erotic attraction would count as interference?”
     Bongo punched him playfully on the upper arm.
    “Oh my, yes!” she laughed.

     Violet Dollop found to her dismay—as well as to her delight—that writing was beginning to take over her life.  What was both absurd and beguiling was the pressure—an intoxicating pressure but a pressure nevertheless—to get everything down: everything she saw, heard, tasted, felt, read about and pondered.  She had never experienced this kind of archival imperative before.  It bothered her a little, but not as much as it infused her with joy.  What was so compelling about being a recording angel, she wondered.  Was it really about leaving a trail behind you made up of everything you were and continued to become?  Was it really, in the end, about mortality?  Was she building a stout wall around her own vulnerability--as if the grim reaper might not recognize her if she were disguised as a bulwark, as a fortification.  
     What a strange image this Grim Reaper figure was, she suddenly thought to herself.  So pastoral.  The harbinger of a leisurely country death, cutting you down as if you were bloomed wheat.  She made a note to herself to write an essay about the Grim Reaper.  She would call it “The Old Man and the Scythe.”
     But was the figure really a man?  How could you tell?  It was mostly black cloak.  With a skeleton’s hands.  What  would today’s version be?  A skeleton in guerrilla fatigues, waving around a…what?  She took a moment to google for help.  “Newest machine guns?” she typed into her laptop.  Then she continued to write in her notebook: “a skeleton in guerrilla fatigues wielding a Korean Super Aegis 2.”  Cumbersome, she noted, but probably accurate.
     Violet wrote and wrote and then read and then wrote again.  She became so utterly dedicated to her labours that she didn’t even hear Tom come in.
     “Still at it?” he asked as cheerfully as he could, trying to mask the slight irritation he felt by passing it off as mere surprise. He hung up his coat and rubbed his hags together—a peculiar gesture, when you really look at it (as violet immediately did), that apparently announced a genial and hearty “what’s next?” kind of inquiry.
     “I’ve been at it all day,” Violet told him.  “I rather lost track of the time.”
     “So there’s no dinner?”
     “Well, not yet anyhow,” replied Violet, “but there soon could be.”
     “Like what?” asked Tom suspiciously.
     “Well, I could make a pasta,’ said Violet.  “And a salad.”
     “Okay.  What kind of a pasta?”
     Violet thought for a moment.
     “How about a nice spicy Fettuccini Puttanesca?” she asked him.  “Tomato sauce, onions, red peppers, chillies, black olives, anchovies, artichoke hearts, capers, oregano….”
     Wonderful!” said Tom, cheering up somewhat. “You got all that stuff?”
     “I think so.  So listen, I’ll start getting things ready and you put on the water for the fettuccini, alright?”
     Tom rather sullenly out down the newspaper he had just picked up.
     “Violet, I’ve had a really long, demanding day,” he told her.
     She looked at Tom, sitting heavily in his favourite chair. “Fettuccini Puttanesca, which is to say, fettuccini as the whores like it,” Violet thought to herself.
     “I know dear,” she told him.  

     May was sitting in her workspace at the School of Architecture, trying to come up with a more elegant solution for the design of a central atrium for a Mediterranean summer home than she had managed so far.
What he had done was pedestrian, heavy, without nuance.  
     Her T.A., a gaunt young man wearing severe Le Corbusier spectacles, hadn’t been very impressed either.  His name was Hugo Hayden and he was still, in this new age of architectural détente and “healing,” an unregenerate post-deconstructivist.
     Your scheme is too resolved,” Hugo told her.  “What you want,” he insisted, “is something that seems more unsolicited.  Your idea shows too much agenda,” he insisted, taking a pencil and scribbling “TMA” across the bottom of one of her drawings.  May looked at the three letters and then at Hugo and then down at the three letters again.  “TMA.”  Thanks Mister Asshole! she thought merrily to herself.
     “Do you understand what I mean?” Hugo asked her, looking for just a second too long down the front of her blouse.
     “Oh yes,” said May, in a tone so steady you could check it with a spirit level.  “I think so.”  She immediately felt a little better to think that the lofty Mr. Hayden had merely been reading the back issues of Volume magazine again.  ‘Unsolicited’ indeed, thought May.