O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention. ~from Henry V, 1599, by William Shakespeare
How many times do I see it each day, right here on Elliquiy? My muse is gone! My muse has failed me! My muse isnít working!
It seems the Love/Hate relationship between one and oneís Muse is quite the experienced phenomena. This is hardly unexpected. After all, writing is a creative, literary art, subject to those fickle goddesses. It is no wonder we lament their existence, even as we are slave to their whims.
Let us now muse on muses.
How well do you know your Muse? Do you know what she likes and doesnít like? What time of day does she find herself to be naturally energetic? What are her preferences when it comes to storytelling? How do your behavior and your actions affect her?
I want you to meet my Muse.
Be warned. Heís not the type of man you bring home to meet your mother.
My Muse is a Man.
He is tall and lean. He is handsome, with a charming disarming smile.
Iím not sure how we first met. Was it over coffee, as my thoughts drifted while I stared out the window, pondering plot lines and character flaws? Was it in the library, as I perused the aisles, sifting through works by those who had, at least once, come to terms with their Muses? Was it at the office, a casual meeting by the water fountain when something, a nearby conversation, an image, inspired me?
Our first date made it clear he was way out of my league. He was so worldly, so experienced. I, a novice still, fell helplessly to his advances. He seduced me. Whispering soft words into my ear, describing how things might be between us.
And I fell in love.
My Muse is a Gentleman.
He wears fine suits, because he likes to appear professional. He has an office with an open door policy, with glass doors that speak of honesty, as if he has nothing to hide. When I come to visit, he opens the door for me, pleased that Iíve dropped by. We sit and chat, we go over details. We discard some things, add others, and reach agreements. I have to lean in to listen. He tends to speak softly.
Sometimes he visits me instead. I might be standing in the kitchen, going about some mundane task. Then I feel those familiar arms encircle me from behind. I falter, I try to continue my work.
But he is persistent when he has something to say. And the words, whispered sweet somethings, are tempting and convincing.
I drop what Iím doing and go with him.
My Muse is a Devil
Sometimes, when I go to visit him, he isnít there. The glass office is dark and empty. How can this be? We had an appointment. Shocked, confused, I stand indecisively, waiting for him to return.
Sometimes for hours. Sometimes for days.
I cry, I rage. Where has he gone? Is he courting someone else? Has he abandoned me?
His return always takes me by surprise. By then Iíve left and resumed the normal motions of life, shaky but determined to continue on without him.
But he whispers in my ear once again, and his guiding hand is warm and strong. So confident that he knows whatís best for me. For us.
I go back to him time and time again.
My Muse is like any Lover.
He is temperamental, fickle by nature. He does as he pleases with no regard to my feelings.
Like the fool I am, I do my best to please him. I console, I plead. Sometimes we have The Talk. I try to be stern with him, to tell him that Iíll have no more of his mood swings and distemper. I do my best to change our relationship into something more productive, less chaotic.
It never works.
I cannot say he has my heart, though it is sometimes affected by his mood. No, my Muse is not the keeper of my soul or my body.
Except for one vital part of me.
My Muse always has my ear. Should he care to whisper into it.