An Office of One’s Own

My Muse

Some of you know me as a poet. Or as a poet wanna be. And the inspiration for my recent fiction excursion is a little embarrassing. So, it seems like something worth telling.

It’s The Office. That’s why I decided to write fiction. I watch the show and think, I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than creating these fascinating characters and these ridiculous, yet truth-full scenarios. Each time I watch an episode it is funnier than the last time I saw it.

I know it has become trendy not to have a television, but I swear Tracy and I have not had a television since before it was cool. (I stopped watching TV in high school when I first went to the house of my twin friends, Bryony and Gilia Angell, and saw all of their drawings—which they had done in addition to their films I had seen and their stories I had read. I realized I wasn’t ever going to get anything done unless I stopped watching TV.) Therefore, the shows I’ve seen over the past twenty years have been very limited.

When we watch The Office, we see it on DVDs from the library, and when I talk about The Office, I mean the American version. I can’t watch the British one, and I’m confessing this even though I understand it reveals how vulgar and crude I am. Steve Carell is Michael Scott and he makes the show that makes me strive to write. When I forget the mission I am on, (to write fiction) and fantasize about becoming a psychologist, a politician, or a lead guitarist (today’s fantasies), I remember Michael Scott and the richness he brings to my imaginative life. He makes me wonder what other extreme oddities people can and do have. Many things about him make me laugh–for instance, his malapropisms–and laughter releases endorphins. Laughter helps ground us in the here and now (as opposed to the there and then).

I’m not going to summarize any episodes (though I particularly like the one where Michael accidentally wears a women’s blazer to work and the one where he leads a workshop on diversity awareness). I’m just going to say, all you need in life is to find your Office. Once you find it you will know what this world made you for.


  • JaimeRWood says:

    I dig it, The Office, that is, and your post. I think wherever you find your muse is perfectly fine. And when you’re in that space where you’ve found the thing that energizes you, it really does feel like you’ve discovered the meaning of life or something.

  • Asa says:

    Did you watch the American version before the British one Shira? We (hubby and I) watched all the seasons of Ricky Gervais as David Brent on Netflix before we knew about the American version and so David Brent is my muse. :-)

    • Shira Richman says:

      Yes, I watched the American version first. There seems to be no going back either way you begin.

      • Rob Seattle says:

        Yes there is. We did the British first and that was fine, the subtitles, everything, was fine. But England is a FOREIGN COUNTRY so you don’t really know what’s okay there (like do they still print photos of topless women in the dailies? etc.) and what’s not. It was only when OUR worst nightmares were reflected back at us did we begin to feel the drug’s effects. Also, Curb Your Enthusiasm. There’s a muse.

        • Shira Richman says:

          Wow, Rob, you’re the first person I’ve heard express this wild perspective! But your points about culture make perfect sense to me. I’ve never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm. Maybe we’ll order it at the Denver Public Library. What are your favorite things about it–how does it work inspirationally?

          • Rob Seattle says:

            It’s kind of anti-inspirational. It shows that even if I get rich by co-creating the most popular sitcom ever, my life will still be frought with self-loathing, maybe even more so. It’s not true, of course, but it’s convincing enough to keep me from trying.

            • Rob Seattle says:

              Like they’d have a whole episode about misspelling something where you can’t change it and a bunch of people can see it and, next thing you know, everyone hates me and I’ve been banned for life from Bark. Random stuff like that.

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