This month I’ve been – in addition to NaNoWriMo, getting a (yes!) publishing contract, raising the family and that pesky dayjob – taking D.D.Scott’s online workshop “Muse Therapy.” Let me tell you, my Muse is sitting up straight and calling me “ma’am” since Ms. Scott helped me whip her into shape. If your Muse, like mine, goes through snippy stages where she acts like a 13 year old girl, all pouting and drama, you need to take this course.
Now, it isn’t all bootcamp for your Muse – she’d hate that! I also learned about care and feeding, so that I’m giving her back for what she gives me. And one of Ms. Scott’s big recommendations is to treat your muse to field trips. Seems they get pissy when you leave them alone all day waiting for you to get in the mood. (Reminds me of someone I’m married to, but I digress.)
So last week I loaded up the truck and – no, not moved to Beverly – I took the famiglia for a day trip to New Orleans. We did the touristy stuff, the Café du Monde, the Aquarium of the Americas, and they are all wonderful Muse food. But one place we visited stands out above all the others. If you write historicals, like pretty things, or are just fascinated by really expensive stuff, I recommend taking your Muse to M.S.Rau Antiques, on Royal Street in the French Quarter.
I’d always been kind of scared to go it M.S.Rau. It is a real antique store, with things that belonged to the crowned heads of Europe, not just the little Junque-type place from which we furnished our lavish estate, Malfunction Junction. But not to worry – the salespeople were the most welcoming, friendly and informative guys you could ask for. They invited us to come in, answered our questions, even took us back to one of the special rooms to see the fossil of a Cave Bear and some priceless paintings.
Now obviously, the DH and I, with three teenagers (two DDs plus one boyfriend)in tow, were not looking to buy a %275,000 antique pianoforte. Though, dang, it would look good in my den! The guys at M.S.Rau just really love history and fine objects, and they are eager to share them with people who show interest. I think the fact that my teenagers not only knew who Newton was, but went, “Dad!! Look, a first edition of Principia!!!” made the salesmen want to show them all the treasures.
Speaking on behalf of my Muse, Bridget, our favorites were the Georgian antiques, particularly the ones that would have appealed to the Duke of Danesleigh in my book, Proof of Love. Danesleigh was a scientist, before the word even existed, and I think he’d have wanted this specimen table for his library.
A specimen table was a horrendously expensive piece that was meant to show off all the fancy minerals, such as marble, that one had encountered during a Grand Tour. Thus, only the very wealthy and well-traveled would have one. Never really heard of one before this, but now it’s a must have at Danesleigh House!
And for the family dining hall, a very cool expandable table from the Jupe Company of England. Although two hundred years old, this baby is made so perfectly that you can spin the mechanism to expand it with one hand! It opens up in pie-shapes, then you slide extra leaves in to make the larger table. Clever, huh? Danesleigh would have loved it. Its provenance was a wee bit after my story, but I figure a forward thinker like Danesleigh would have had the prototype, before it went into production.
M.S.Rau had a massive assortment of canes, some of them incredibly gorgeous – and expensive! Since poor Lady Susan, my heroine, has to endure beatings by her horrid father, I checked out the canes pretty carefully, and I found this one that I think her dad would have enjoyed beating his wife and children with. (But don’t worry – Dad gets his comeuppance. You’ll have to read Proof of Love to see how!)
Last, but far from least, M.S.Rau has an incredible jewelry collection. In Proof of Love, Danesleigh gives Susan an heirloom emerald necklace. I think this pearl and emerald necklace would fill the bill quite nicely, don’t you?
Anyway, to summarize: if your Muse needs a bit of encouragement, I recommend a trip to a really fine antique store with helpful sales personnel who love to dish about the history of their treasures. If you are within traveling distance of New Orleans, get your Muse to M.S.Rau Antiques as soon as possible – she’ll thank you for it. And a happy Muse is a productive Muse!!!!