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She's the blessed bringer of art, the inspiration and the talent, the devil who claws at your heart with blackened maddening talons and squeezes every frantic drop of brilliance from your ravaged mind. She gorges your imagination. She is your genius. She held Kerouac's tongue with frigid finger, terror-gripped mute, held the bottle to Poe's mouth and the gun to Cobain's, and holds Van Gogh's dissevered ear still. She whispers in your ear, screams in your sleep, makes fearful faces from familiar friends and glistens in powdery white railway tracks along a grotty white bathroom bench. She grins shrewdly through high windows, shapes in trees, by the side of the road. She keeps you from sleep.

Yet I feel shafted and inconsequential, for I know not her sacred madness. No devil violates my thoughts, no nagging voices disturb my sleep. And as I sit with my pen and my paper, laboriously assembling sentences from words like bricks, she entwines her spindly stripped body around someone else and feeds them her genius, the stuff of dreams; and leaves them perilously straddling the fearsome and wondrous threshold between the world of substance and the world of ideas that are mad or brilliant or both. And I, relegated to mediocrity and ease, paper untouched because she will not trouble my sensible world to move my pen.

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