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The Diner Diaries: The Muse’s Muse and the Muse of Muses

Art is the only means by which we can escape from the miserable condition of life, in which everything is but emptiness and deception, and attain, at least for a moment, to a higher state in which we can feel that we are in harmony with the universe and experience a happiness that is beyond the reach of chance. Art is the highest task and the truly metaphysical activity in this life.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Louise Brooks and her friend, Clara Bow, were sitting in a busy diner, sipping on milkshakes and discussing their careers in the film industry. They were chatting about the latest gossip in Hollywood when the topic turned to what makes a muse a muse.

“What do you think makes a woman a muse?” Clara asked, taking a sip of her milkshake.

“Well, according to my mother, it’s all about the milkshakes,” Louise replied with a smirk.

Clara laughed. “I think you’re on to something there. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be inspired by a creamy, delicious milkshake?”

“Exactly!” Louise said with a grin. “But in all seriousness, I think it’s a combination of beauty, talent, and an air of mystery.”

“Oh, the mystery,” Clara said, dramatically placing her hand on her chest. “It’s what sets us apart from those dreary debutantes.”

“And let’s not forget the confidence,” Louise added, striking a pose. “A true muse knows she’s got it and isn’t afraid to flaunt it.”

“Well, if confidence is key, then I must be the muse of muses,” Clara said with a laugh.

“And I’ll be the muse’s muse,” Louise replied with a grin.

They both laughed and clinked their milkshake glasses together. “Here’s to us, the muses of Wonderland,” Louise said.

Clara furrowed her brows. “Don’t you mean Hollywoodland?”

Louise’s eyes widened. “Oh, right! I guess my head’s stuck in the clouds, or in this case, in Wonderland.”

Clara giggled. “Well, let’s hope we don’t end up as mad as Charlie Chaplin or the Mad Hatter.”

“And that this white malted milkshake doesn’t lead us down the rabbit hole like the White Rabbit,” Louise added with a chuckle.

They both burst out laughing, enjoying each other’s company and their playful banter.

As they continued to laugh, Louise noticed something strange happening with her milkshake. It started to shake and wobble, and before she could react, it tipped over, spilling its contents all over her lap.

“Oh no!” Louise exclaimed, trying to wipe the thick, white shake off of her dress.

Clara gasped and then burst out laughing. “Looks like that milkshake had a mind of its own! You’re a mess, Louise.”

Louise laughed along with her friend, shaking her head. “I guess I should have known better than to make a Wonderland reference. Maybe I should stick to Hollywood from now on.”

Clara chuckled. “At least we’re not the only ones having a mishap today.”

As if on cue, the lights in the diner flickered and then went out completely, leaving them in complete darkness.

Louise groaned. “What now?”

But Clara wasn’t fazed. “Don’t worry, Louise, I’ll find us some light.”

A moment later, the sound of matches being struck filled the air, and a small flame appeared as Clara lit a match. She held it up, illuminating their faces in the dim light.

Louise smiled, feeling grateful for her friend’s resourcefulness. “Thanks, Clara. You always know what to do.”

Clara grinned back at her. “That’s what friends are for.”

As they continued to sit in the darkness, the flame of the match slowly dying down, Louise couldn’t help but feel a sense of comfort and contentment. Even in the midst of mishaps and chaos, she knew she could always count on her friend to be there for her.

Finally, the lights flickered back on, and they both let out a sigh of relief. They finished their milkshakes, paid their bill, and headed out into the bright sunlight, ready to face whatever else Wonderland, or Hollywood, had in store for them.

The next day, Louise and Clara were seated once again in the same diner, each with a tall glass of creamy milkshake. The lively chatter of the other diners provided a melodious backdrop to the fond reminiscences of their careers in the film industry. As they sipped their drinks, memories of their lively conversation from the day before came flooding back, transporting them to a time of glamour and devil-may-care abandon. The speakeasy atmosphere of the establishment was palpable, with the clinking of glasses and the low hum of conversation adding to the nostalgic mood.

“Remember yesterday when we were discussing what makes a woman a muse?” Clara asked, taking a sip of her milkshake.

“How could I forget?” Louise replied with a laugh. “You were practically declaring yourself the muse of muses.”

“And you were the muse’s muse,” Clara said with a grin.

“Right,” Louise said with a nod. “But I’ve been thinking about it and I think there’s more to it than just beauty, talent, and mystery.”

“Oh?” Clara asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I think a true muse has to have a sense of humor,” Louise said with a smile. “Without that, the whole thing becomes rather dull and uninspiring.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Clara said, laughing. “A muse with a good laugh is worth her weight in milkshakes.”

The following morning, Louise and Clara returned to their favorite diner, where they leisurely sipped coffee while reminiscing about their conversation from the previous day. The atmosphere of the establishment was lively, with the sounds of glasses clinking and patrons chatting providing an ideal setting for the two famous actresses to reminisce.

“So, what’s new with you, Louise?” Clara asked, taking a sip of her coffee.

Louise rolled her eyes and chuckled. “Same old, same old. Just trying to keep up with the speed of time.”

Clara nodded in agreement. “It seems like only yesterday we were young and carefree, and now here we are, trying to balance work, responsibilities, and keeping our sanity intact.”

Louise took a sip of her coffee, savoring the bitter taste. “Ah, the bittersweet elixir of adulthood. It’s like a dark, mysterious liquid that promises to take us away from reality, but in the end, just leaves us with a caffeine-induced headache.”

Clara chuckled. “You know, life’s like a river – always moving forward, and we’re just trying to keep up with the current. The more we try to hold on to the past, the faster it slips away from us. It’s like trying to grab a fish with your bare hands – you can try, but chances are it’s going to slip through your fingers!”

“And let’s not forget the wise words of Alice in Wonderland,” Louise added with a grin. ” ‘I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’ It’s like life is playing a cruel joke on us, always changing and never staying the same.”

Clara leaned back in her seat with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “But that’s what makes life exciting, don’t you think? It’s like a big adventure, full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises.”

Louise couldn’t help but smile. “You always know how to lighten the mood, Clara. I guess that’s why we make such a great team.”

They clinked their coffee cups together, and sat in comfortable silence for a moment, lost in their own thoughts. The sounds of the bustling diner drifted in and out of their consciousness, but neither of them paid it much attention.

Finally, Clara spoke up. “Louise, I have a question for you,” she said.

“What is it?” Louise asked, turning to look at her friend.

“Do you ever regret leaving Kansas and coming to Hollywood?” Clara asked.

Louise shook her head. “Not for a single moment,” she said. “I came here to chase my dreams, and I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought possible. And I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without my mother’s lessons and support.”

Clara smiled, a twinkle in her eye. “That’s the spirit,” she said. “Never let anyone hold you back from chasing your dreams.”

Louise smiled back at her friend, grateful for her words of encouragement. She took another sip of her coffee, feeling the warmth of it spread throughout her body.

“Do you remember a specific evening from those days?” Clara asked.

“Yes, I do,” Louise replied, her voice taking on a wistful tone. “It was an autumn evening many years ago, in the small town of Cherryvale, Kansas. I had spent the day exploring the countryside with my family, and as the sun set and the air grew chilly, we headed back home to town.

“After dinner, I brushed my teeth and put on my pajamas, eager for bedtime and the bedtime story my mother promised to read. Myra tucked me into bed, and pulled out ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll.

“It was one of my favorites, and I snuggled under the covers with a wide smile on my face. My mother began reading, her warm voice lulling me into a peaceful slumber.

“As the story progressed, she read the famous line ‘I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’ Confused by its meaning, I asked my mom about what Alice meant by saying that. Myra knew what it meant, and decided to teach me a valuable lesson on the three stages of life: child, adolescent, and adult.

“She explained to me that as we grow and experience new things, we change. We are not the same person we were yesterday or even an hour ago, and that’s okay because growth and change is a natural part of life.

“The soft glow of the bedside lamp and the sound of Myra’s voice created a cozy and magical atmosphere in the room. I drifted off to sleep, dreaming of adventures in Wonderland and the lessons I had learned from Alice and my mother.

“And so, this quiet and peaceful evening became a cherished memory for both mother and daughter, a reminder of the special bond we shared and the love we had for each other.”

“As I drifted off to sleep, I remember feeling so content and happy, surrounded by the love and comfort of my family. It was a moment frozen in time, and one that I would never forget. Even now, as I sit here in this diner with you, Clara, I can still feel the warmth of my mother’s love, and the sense of peace and contentment that came with that memory.”

Clara listened, her heart overflowing with empathy and understanding. She reached across the table and took Louise’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.

“That’s a beautiful memory, Louise,” she said. “And I’m glad you have it to hold onto.”

Louise nodded, a small smile playing on her lips. “I know,” she said. “And that’s why I cherish it so much. It’s a reminder of a simpler time, a time when I was a different person, just like Alice.”

The two friends sat in silence for a moment, both lost in thought. The sounds of the diner faded away, replaced by the gentle whispers of their memories. As they finished their coffee and said their goodbyes, their hearts filled with the warmth of their memories and the hope of what the future may bring. And as they stepped out into the bustling streets of Hollywood, they knew that they were ready to take on the world, hand in hand.

Over the years I suffered poverty and rejection and came to believe that my mother had formed me for a freedom that was unattainable, a delusion. Then … I was … confined to this small apartment in this alien city of Rochester. … Looking about, I saw millions of old people in my situation, wailing like lost puppies because they were alone and had no one to talk to. But they had become enslaved by habits which bound their lives to warm bodies that talked. I was free! Although my mother had ceased to be a warm body in 1944, she had not forsaken me. She comforts me with every book I read. Once again I am five, leaning on her shoulder, learning the words as she reads aloud “Alice in Wonderland.”

Louise Brooks, Lulu in Hollywood

"Currer Bell is neither man nor woman, but an abstract thing, an artist." - Michael Garcia Mujica. Echoing this sentiment about Charlotte Brontë's pseudonymous voice, Michael lends his pen to silent film star Louise Brooks. From his base in Coral Gables, Florida, Michael—a writer, visual artist, and curator of Vintage Brooks, Inc.—revitalizes Brooks's legacy. His acclaimed blog, Naked on My Goat, serves as a living tribute to Brooks's enduring influence in dance, her profound writing, and her broad appreciation for the arts. Just as Brontë made an indelible mark in literature despite the societal constraints of her time, Michael accentuates Brooks's trailblazing spirit within the film industry. In his role, he ensures that Brooks's iconic voice continues to resonate within the cultural lexicon of the 21st century, celebrating the intricate victories of women in arts, both past and present. Explore more about the abstract persona of Charlotte Brontë in Michael's piece, "The Abstract Persona: Understanding Charlotte Brontë's Pseudonymous Journey as Currer Bell."

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