Musecorn is a variation of the play-like writing that has come to be called Popcorn that was initiated by Al, head moderator of the Goodreads writing group, Weekly Short Story Contests and Company. (And Al is a very fine writer. Please check out her poetry and prose in the WSS or on her blog Pens and Erasers.) 'Popcorn' is the nickname for the fun thread called Get to Know Your Character (Popcorn Served).

Popcorn is Alex's game that gives authors the opportunity to interact directly with his or her characters by giving them a voice in the style of a play. This has been running since January 2010. For a short and interesting and not atypical example of popcorn go to From Seagulls to Mice, Exhumed Babies to Diarrhoea.

Musecorn is a slight refinement. The interacting personalities are not characters of the author, but the writers' creative muse or muses. Some of the popcorn is more specifically musecorn.

It sounds odd, I know, but it is a great deal of fun, challenging to write, and liberates the imagination.

A few months ago, and one of the reasons I've not been blogging as I used to, Al and I began to create Interactive Musecorn while talking via a chatterbox window. We had no idea how this would work, but to our surprise and immense pleasure, it has become as alive as anything I can imagine writing. I have, here, published an early exchange.

[2013.08.05: I've received some very positive feed back about this, and so may, with Al's permission, begin to blog the occasional interactive muse-corn. Some of them have been very funny, some very sad, and some delightfully engaging.]

Dramatis Personae:

Guy's muses are The Professor (Prof), Neve, and Pandora. They, and his voice 'Guy' are coloured as shown. [Guy also has Sophia, who was not a part of this particular musecorn scene.]
Al's muse is Frank. He and she are coloured as shown. [Note: in later musecorn, Al's muses include many other fascinating individuals.]

Prof: [Speaking to no one in particular.] Al's rabbit-coitus dream has been puzzling me.
Frank: Me too. VERY puzzling.
Prof: [He pauses.] Freud would have a simple answer, I think.
Frank: Quite creepy, too. I don't like having to share her with some bunny man.
Prof: But it is about hidden wish fulfillments. At least that's Freud.
Frank: And everyone knows how much I loathe that fruity man. Oh dear Lord. And now I'm making typos! How embarrassing.
Prof: [Laughs.] What's that got to do with anything?! She gets you a lot, so you aren't a hidden wish fulfillment.
Frank: [He raises his eyebrow.] And now you're on the same list as Freud....
Al: Frank. Be nice.
Neve: Did Al have sex with a rabbit? OMG, that's gross!
Al: Not a rabbit, a man wearing a rabbit suit.
Neve: [Mutters under her breath.] How big was the rabbit?
Frank: And here I thought I was your only bunny.
Al: He was massive.
Neve: Oh! [Pauses.] But really, isn't that even, sort of, more gross?
Frank: [He wanders off.] Is Pandora here?
Neve: Well, you never know. Why?
Frank: Oh, no reason.
Al: He wants to have a "chat" with her.
Prof: That is just displacement, Frank.
Frank: Who asked you, fruitcake?
Prof: You think that if you can touch greatness, you will become a better man.
Al: Fruitcake? [Bursts into laughter]
Frank: You, clearly, have no idea what being a "better man" is all about.
Al: Frank...
Prof: [Laughs.]
Frank: [He rolls his eyes.]
Prof: Frank, you have all the behaviour of small man syndrome. And I don't mean your height, if you get my meaning.
Al: Remember your promise, darling. Don't do anything stupid....
Frank: [Ignoring her.] You insolent little man! If I wasn't being elbowed by Al, I'd strangle you!
Neve: Professor! That's not fair! What has Frank ever done to you?
Al: [She tugs on Frank's suit jacket.] Sit back down before you lose your head.
Prof: Bugger all, as it happens. Unfortunately. Of course, he has called me names. [He speaks with great smugness.] Only men with little dicks resort to name calling. [Laughs again.] And even then, he resorts to calling me a 'fruitcake.'
Al: Little dick? [She glares at the prof.]
Prof: Well. He has the symptoms.
Frank: Dearest, don't listen to him. He obviously is frustrated because no woman would ever want to sleep with him.
Guy: And how, pray tell, would you know about that, professor, if you weren't that way endowed too. [Laughs.]
Al: Precisely.
Neve: But he has an excellent dick! Errr [she turnes red.] At least that's what I've been told.
Frank: His dick's so little he could pass off as a-
Al: [Elbow's him hard in the ribs.]
Neve: Yes, I have it on good authority.
Frank: [He grunts and gives Al a look.]
Al: Anyway.
Guy: And by what yard stick can you make that kind of judgment, Neve?
Al: The bunny dream. Tell me, professor what you make of it? I'm just dying to know.
Prof: Ahem.
Prof: Yes, the bunny dream. Pink.
Frank: [Whispering.] You shouldn't have said that.
Al: Pink?
Prof: Well, if I know my Freud, and I know him very well indeed.
Frank: [He rolls his eyes.] Even a fake shrink like me sees no use in that sexually frustrated pervert.
Prof: Well, I mean, it would seem that you are experiencing some kind of wish fulfillment anxiety. I'm not sure how to say it. But you will be marrying a Jew. That's what the bunny dream in pink surely means. I think.
Frank: [He laughs so loudly he causes Al to jump.]
Al: A Jew, hmm? Interesting. All this from having sex with a bunny-man.
Prof: [Speaking with increased confidence.] Yes! That is most certainly the case. He won't be a practicing Jew, but yup, I'm certain of it.
Frank: Well, if I have my way, she won’t be marrying a Jew.
Al: [she rolls her eyes.] We're not even going to get into that conversation, Frank.
Prof: Yes. It would be difficult for a lay-person to understand the subtleties of such an interpretation, but let’s just keep in mind that Jews are uncircumcised.
Frank: [He laughs again.]
Al: [She shakes her head.]
Frank: He's talking from his ass!
Neve: What? What the shit are you talking about? Professor, you do realize you have managed to have me agree with the odious Frank?! What have you been smoking?
Al: I was just about to ask that.
Frank: Wait a second! Odious?!
Prof: I would have you know I haven't smoked anything. Well, I smoked some trout once. It was very tasty. It didn't taste like fish at all.
Frank: This guy's a moron.
Guy: What's the point of eating smoked trout if they didn't taste like trout?
Neve: I wonder where Pandora is?
Guy: I think she likes teasing Frank.
Frank: Yes, I wonder.... Doesn't every tasty woman.
Guy: There is something between them. I wonder...
Frank: Did I say tasty?
Al: [She dives her elbow into his ribs again.] I'm sitting right here!
Frank: [He clears his throat.] I'm sorry, dear.
Neve: Tasty women? [She thinks back to her her first year in college with some fondness.] What was her name? Rebecca? Rhonda?
Frank: [He looks at Neve oddly.]
Al: [She stands and walks away from Frank.]
Frank: What's wrong with you?
Al: You're what's wrong with me!
Neve: Where was I? Oh, Guy, Frank and Pandora. Hasn't Pandora sworn to celibacy? How could there be anything between them?
Al: [She sits next to the professor.] You smoke a pipe, don't you?
Prof: Well, I'd like to. I keep an empty one on hand. It makes me look more professorial.
Frank: Of course there can't be anything between Pandora and I.
Al: Empty? Shame. [She stands and goes back to Frank.] Give me your pipe.
Frank: Why?
Al: Give it to me.
Frank: [He raises an eyebrow, but takes it from his suit pocket and hands it to her.]
Al: [She pops it in her mouth and sticks out her hand for his lighter.]
Guy: No, I don't mean today. And with Zen celibacy is not required. No, I'm thinking of before Pandora became a monk.
Frank: [He plucks it from her mouth.] That stuff'll kill you! [He shoves the pipe back in his pocket with a stern look on his face. He then huffs.] Pandora and I have nothing going on between us. I've never even met her. Besides, I find bald women to be...repulsive.
Al: [She laughs] That's not what you said the other day!
Prof: The pipe is a phallic substitution symbol. For a woman to want to stick a pipe in her mouth is returning to childhood oral fixation, but with the angst of puberty being displaced from real phalluses to smoking sticks.
Frank: Explains why you carry around an empty one.
Prof: Clearly, this is also linked to the Jewish pink rabbit man.
Frank: You're replacing real dicks for a fake one, so to speak, a stick. Because you don't have one.
Al: [She sighs and sits next to Guy, shaking her head.] I don't understand men.
Prof: [He doesn't really hear Frank, he is now deep in thought. He takes out his empty pipe and begins tapping it on his teeth to the sound of 'When a Man Needs a Woman.']
Guy: I don't understand men either.
Frank: See. I'm correct. He just needs a good blowjob.
Al: [She looks in horror at Frank.]
Neve: Alexandrea! You said 'blowjob'!?
Al: Frank did. I'd never say such a thing.
Frank: [He smirks.] You said it the other night.
Al: Frank!
Neve: Oh. Thank god! Did Frank say you need a good blow job?
Frank: [He winks at Al. She disses him.] I said the professor needs one. Just look at him over there. Pathetic.
Prof: [Still ignoring the conversation, and tapping the pipe against his teeth.] Projection. The rabbit is projection of infantile wishes. Did her mother not give her the teat fast enough? Or maybe she kept her from the soother? Freudian psychology is so difficult.
Al: [She goes to the prof and stands in front of him, looking down at him. She crosses her arms and taps her foot against the floor.]
Neve: [Turning to Alex.] Are all men like this?
Al: Stand up.
Prof: [The professor stands, but isn't really fully aware of Al. He is still thinking Freudian thoughts.]
Al: [She slaps him. She then sits back down next to Guy.]
Prof: [He stumbles backwards. The pipe falls to the floor with a loud clatter.] What? What the hell? What? [He turns to look at her.]
Guy: [Laughs.]
Neve: [Looks like she is going to pee her pants, she is wiggling from leg to leg nervously.]
Al: [Not fully satisfied, she goes back to him and takes him by the ear.] You know what I think about you and your Freud shit?
Prof: Ow! Stop that! [He grabs her wrist.]
Guy: [Is now howling with laughter.]
Al: [She drags him around the room.] You've got a huge head and not the manly kind either! You apologize to Frank right now.
Prof: Let me go, you, you, you bitch!
Frank: [He stands appalled.] What did you call her?! [He punches the professor in the jaw.] No one, no one calls her a "bitch" without having to deal with me!
Guy: Frank, let her be. She is fully capable of handling herself. [He points to the prof being dragged like a dog around.]
Al: [Fully satisfied, she sits back down, stretches and yawns.]
Prof: Hey! Why'd you do that?
Frank: You know full well why I did!
Al: Frank, darling, let him be.
Prof: Harrumph! Well, I can see why you deserve each other. And need some solid psychotherapy!
Al: Not as much as you do, I assure you.
Frank: You call her a bitch once more, and I'll not only punch you in the jaw, I'll have you hung and out to dry!
Prof: [He comes back to pick up his pipe. He begins to put it into his mouth with hands noticeably shaking. But before it gets there, he remembers that it was on the dirty floor.]
Al: Sit down, Frank.
Frank: [He sits down, grumpy and huffing.]
Al: Anyway. [She looks at Guy.] I'm sorry. But I really had to.
Neve: [The smell of testosterone has stimulated her hormones. She looks first to the prof, and then Frank. She starts moving to Frank.] Did you hurt your hand? I can kiss it better if you want. That always worked when my mom did it when I was a kid.
Frank: I'd rather you not. [He holds his hand out to Al.]
Al: [She smirks hardly containing her urge to jump him.]
Neve: [Blood rushing, she hears the no as a secret yes.] Oh, please. I've been told that I have a gentle and healing touch.
Frank: [He looks back at Neve.] Fine, but just this once.
Guy: [Watches the two woman with rapt attention.]
Al: [She blinks at Frank, and then looks at Neve.]
Guy: [Turns to Al.] Seriously? Does this fake machismo really turn women on?
Al: [She shrugs.]
Guy: [Regrets speaking his thoughts at the exact wrong time.] Really?
Al: Frank in general just turns me on.
Guy: Really?
Frank: [He looks at Al, totally ignoring Neve, almost pushing her away.] Really? I can see I'm in for a good night.
Al: In your dreams!
Frank: [He frowns.] Women.
Neve: [Finds his rebuff even more exciting. Steps a little closer. Her breathing becomes noticeably shallower, and her voice drops.] I love men of action.
Frank: [He gives an odd look at Neve.] I...I uh....
Al: [She rolls her eyes.]
Neve: [Is now standing...]
Al: [She turns to Guy.] So, how is your tea?
Neve: [Is now standing directly in front of Frank. She looks at him, her chest filled with the hope of him.]
Guy: Excellent, thank you? But not as good as watching Neve in heat. Would you like some?
Frank: [He looks at Neve knowing he shouldn't but he does anyway.]
Al: I would love some. I'll let the two of them work it out. I don't mind sharing Frank. Neve's better than that blonde secretary in pink bikinis at his office anyway.
Prof: [Drops his pipe. He was tired of being ignored after being punched in the face.]
Frank: [He smiles at Neve.] Hello. I don't believe we've met.
Guy: [Raises his eyebrows.]
Al: I'm kidding. Sarcasm, Guy. He'll not get away with anything, and he knows better. I'll let them work it out and then kill him later.
Guy: I'll go and get you some tea. Honey, sugar or black?
Al: Black, of course.
Guy: Okay. [Guy goes to make tea.]
Prof: Al, why did you slap me? And rend my ear?
Al: Still on that, are you? [She sighs.] Why do you think?
Prof: Well, my excellent brain and powers of observation have successfully deduced that you are secretly anti-semitic.
Al: [She raises her eyebrow.] Oh? And what makes you think that?
Prof: Simple. Your slap was your sub-conscious hatred rebelling against my having successfully decoded your dream. And I am both educated and have the appearance of a successful Jew.
Al: So you think. You really don't understand women, do you?
Prof: Yes. That's what I just said. [Raises his eyebrows, obviously puzzled.] No, I understand women fine. That's why they don't date me a second time.
Al: [Highly satisfied with herself, she smiles.]
Guy: [Carries in a cup of tea and hands it to Al.] You've actually had first dates, Professor?
Al: [She takes the cup.] Thank you. I'm sure they weren't really "dates".
Neve: [Blushes. Frank has 'accidentally' brushed his hand against her blouse.]
Al: You know, professor, I slapped you because you insulted my man. And myself.
Guy: Did he? I don't respect what he has to say enough to get insulted by his verbiage.
Al: [She laughs.]
Prof: Hey! That's being condescending! Have you sucked on a pipe, lately? It sounds like you need it too!
Al: Professor?
Prof: [Clears throat.] Yes?
Al: You know, maybe you should smoke a "real" pipe.
Frank: [He whispers something to Neve.]
Prof: What do you mean? This is a real pipe.
Al: Yes, but it's empty.
Prof: But that is a true metaphor of sex. Full of promise, but in the end just a short spurt and then ennui.
Al: [She loses it and laughs.]
Guy: Well, he could be right. Frank seems to be going to be getting the short end of his stick, if he keeps that up.
Al: Frank Leonard Putnam. Come here.
Guy: [Takes a long sip of tea.]
Frank: [He jumps and turns around.] W-what?
Al: Come here.
Frank: [He goes to her.]
Al: [She stands and puts her hands on the sides of his face and kisses him.]
Neve: [Follows him. She appears to be mesmerized. She sighs audibly when she sees Al's kiss.]
Frank: [He feels as if he has melted.]
Al: [She stops kissing him.]
Frank: [He blinks at her.] Now what was that for?
Al: [She shrugs and sits back down and sips her tea.]
Guy: That's kind of mean, don't you think? I mean, I like to see Frank squirm, but still.
Al: I do too.
Guy: [Sips his tea. Raises his eyebrow, again.]
Frank: [Confused, yet utterly dreamy feeling, he sits back down with an odd sort of smile.]
Al: [She grins at Guy.] Just look at him. It's pathetic.
Neve: [Confused, yet looking like she is on cloud nine, she sits on the other side of Frank and puts her hand on his thigh.]
Frank: [He looks at Neve and then he kisses her.]
Al: [She rolls her eyes.] Oh dear, Lord. Frank!
Guy: [Laughs.] Oops. Sorry Al. That was an inappropriate response. Sorry.
Al: [She sighs.] I'll just let him be.
Neve: [Sighs very audibly.]
Guy: [Raises his eyebrows.]
Al: [She sips her tea and looks at the professor.]
Frank: [His hand finds Neve's cheek.]
Prof: [Has taken out a small notebook and is scribbling furiously. The empty pipe is sitting on the floor beside him.]
Neve: [Gasps at the touch.]
Al: Whatcha writing?
Prof: Well, not that you are really interested, I am making notes on your behaviour as a hysterical woman. You fit Freud's profile perfectly. And I want to vindicate his slightly fallen reputation. Thank you for helping me with that. [He rubs his ear gently. It is very tender, and he is sure there will be finger sized bruises on it in the morning.]
Al: Write down that I think you're hysterical, and that you're stuck in the dark ages, and that you need a woman to pop some reason into that thick skull or yours.
Prof: But... [He pauses.] How to say this without hurting your feelings. [Pauses.]
Frank: [His hand finds Neve's chest.]
Prof: Well, you have no control over your libido, and the incest wish has been very forcibly denied in you.
Al: [She sips some tea and nods.] I see.
Prof: [He smiles. But it conveys his disbelief.]
Al: I think you're really insane.
Neve: [Takes Frank's hand in both of hers and begins to move it to her buttons.]
Prof: Yes. A clear symptom. [He writes something down.]
Al: Guy? How do you deal with him, hmm?
Guy: Easy. I use him to teach me about how stupidity requires very smart people who are in denial.
Al: [She smiles and raises her cup to him.]
Guy: I am sorry to say, kind of like your Frank over there. What he's doing is, truly, stupid.
Al: [She looks at Frank, looks back at Guy and then back at Frank.] FRANK LEONARD PUTNAM!
Guy: [Sips his tea. The cup is nearly empty.]
Frank: [He stops making out with Neve and looks at an angry Al. He then looks at Neve.] Oh, dear.
Al: [She shakes her head at him.] You should be ashamed of yourself!
Neve: What? Frank?
Frank: [He clears his throat.] I'm sorry, Neve. And I'm sorry, dearest. I don't know what came over me.
Guy: Neve, you may want to do up those buttons.
Al: You better be sorry!
Prof: Yes! [He scribbles with increased vigour.]
Frank: [He moves away from Neve and fixes his hair.] It's as if I had forgotten who I was.
Guy: [Laughs uproariously.]
Al: [She rolls her shoulders.] Idiot. Moron!
Guy: [Can't stop laughing. Struggles to speak.] Sorry Al. I don't mean to laugh, but it takes really smart people to make total asses of themselves. [Laughs even longer.]
Al: Yes. I can see that, though I wouldn't call Frank "smart".
Guy: Oh? But you're bright? Sex only takes you so far. And with the Franks, regardless how good in bed, well. A little Neve and ... [Shrugs.]
Al: [She notices Frank sitting, head in hands and is sobbing.]
Prof: Yes, Al. It is obvious that Guy is only saying that because he isn't good in bed.
Al: [She looks concerned.] Professor, I'm sure you're not good in bed at all. Hence your dusty organ as Guy has stated a few times. [She goes to Frank.] Frank, darling?
Frank: Leave me alone!
Guy: Hey! I'd have you know that I seem to be fine. In my own mind, anyway.
Al: [She frowns and goes back to her tea.]
Guy: [Smiles at Al.] Thank you Al! I'd forgotten I'd said that.
Frank: [He continues sobbing in the corner.]
Al: [She looks at him worried, but sips the rest of her tea and then looks at Guy.] Yes, I found that incredibly amusing. Horrible images come to mind, though....
Guy: Yes, very horrible. [Giggles, and then starts laughing uncontrollably.]
Prof: [Continues scribbling in his notebook.]
Al: Guy? I never did ask what sort of tea this was.
Guy: Did you like it? It is my special blend. 3/4 sencha green tea with 1/4 gingia assam. I love blending the green with the slightly black.
Al: Very good. Professor? I'm hesitant to ask, but what did you think of the fat man dream, hmm?
Neve: [Is adjusting her clothes.] Excuse me. Could I have a cup of tea too? Please?
Prof: Well. Let me see. That is clearly an incest wish denial dream.
Al: Go on.
Prof: What do you mean?
Guy: [Starts laughing.] Yes, professor. Go on. Please. Educate us.
Al: Yes, make yourself look more of a fool.
Guy: Okay, Neve. Al, would you like another cup?
Al: Yes! Please!
Guy: Okay…Here you go. Ahhhhhh.


  1. Replies
    1. Rose!
      You read this?! LOL! I am glad you enjoyed it. The amazing thing is that this is an extemporaneous creation, with very few edits after-the-fact. It is amongst the most fun 'things' I have created. And, best of all, it has a resonance when writing it. I have no idea if that would translate to a third party reading it, my being so close to it. So, thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Oh! Too funny! And a bit embarrassing! My writing is so awful in this.

    1. Al, your writing is funny and creative and delightful here! What are you talking about? Sheesh!

      Ryan in WSS read it, and said of it "Yes, I read it with a smile. What did I think? The same thing I've felt since joining the WSS - awe and respect for two brilliant, imaginative minds."