Oliver was sure that the songs he was writing were just a waste of time. None of the notes he played seemed to be getting him any closer to a good song, and none of them seemed to be bringing a good song closer to him. He kept playing because he didn’t want to let his guitar teacher down, but he was quickly losing his faith in himself.
Oliver sat under a tree in the park, far away from everyone else, lest they hear the songs he had just written. He played them, because his music teacher told him that every song you write, no matter how awful, should be played at least once. And as he played, a little bit of soil flicked out of the ground, as if an unseen shovel had scooped it out.
Oliver played another chord of his song, and again, a shovel full of earth flew out of the ground. He found this most amusing, and with each chord, the hole grew bigger, until all at once, the hole began to glow as a small can of cat food and a can opener twinkled at the bottom of the hole.
Oliver put down his guitar and picked up the can. He opened it and set it down, and immediately, one of the many cats that the muse Calliope had scattered about the earth dashed over. She was quite hungry, and being a cat, was unable to open cans of mana on her own.
Quite satisfied by her meal of mana, and quite grateful to Oliver, the cat brushed up against Oliver’s legs, and as she did, beautiful chords began to drift out of his guitar. In no time at all Oliver had written a beautiful song, and even after the cat left in search of another musician who had unearthed a can of mana, Oliver set to work writing another song. It wasn’t anywhere near as good as the one he had just written, but as he played, another shovelful of earth flew up several yards away, and Oliver walked toward it, playing chords and writing songs that eventually revealed another can of mana.
Even now, when one of Caliope’s cats is nowhere to be seen, Oliver writes songs and plays them. Many times they’re not good at all, but every one of these songs always seems to start digging a hole right above one of those cans of mana that the muse’s pets like so much. It seems, to Oliver, as if those cans are everywhere.