The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: Twenty-Six Tales from the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris at the #1 spot on Amazon Kindle's Short Story Collections best seller list (it made it to #9 overall in the Horror category), where it leapfrogged over both Kipling's Riki Tiki Tavi and the collected works of Mark Twain. Muse was with me intimately for a long time in the physical and spiritual senses; I set out to create a 'greatest hits' vibe with it and, so far, the early reader reviews have been stellar. But while writing the collection, dust and cat hair collected, as did the latest contracts and pay stubs in piles, files of longhand manuscripts, and contributor copies, too. A wild sense of mayhem cropped up in what I consider the heart of my home in a way that's rarely, if ever, been allowed.
As most of my friends and colleagues know, I love a clean living space -- and a spotless work environment even more. An uncluttered home in the physical world does benefit the cerebral, making it easier and more enjoyable to put down the beginnings, middles, and ends of work I'm proud to have bear my byline. That, and I'm a compulsive neat-freak, always have been. But during the creation of so much fresh material for the collection (and the numerous other projects I worked on in and around Muse), the condition of my writing room suffered. With my baby published, yesterday I poured a tall iced hazelnut coffee, called up a spooky old flick on the computer screen, and set about putting things to rights to a degree my home office hasn't seen since last November.
I filed all of my paperwork, and then spent another half an hour or so filing files containing more than a few months' worth of the latest manuscripts -- some, the original drafts of novellas and short stories penned specifically for Muse. Indoctrinating them into my lateral filing cabinet drawers, which contain some thirty-three years of manuscripts, felt liberating and uplifting. While I have yet to hold the print version of my baby (that's still some forty-eight hours from now), it felt like I had completely put the collection to bed -- and done something with this book that would make any writer supremely happy.