Tuesday, March 20, 2012


We humans like to portray the Muse as that approachable and compliant creature (usually female, but sometimes male) whose only desire is to fulfill our every wish. 
We cling to the belief that we order, and the Muse obligingly (and smilingly) delivers, right to our doorstep.  Sometimes this actually happens in real life.
At other times, though, the Muse maliciously garbles the order.  To quote a colleague, "I asked for a plot, and I got a Halloween costume."
And at still other times, the Muse is...Deaf?  Asleep?  Dead?  When this happens, one is tempted to resort to name-calling.  Coercion.  Punishment.  Anything to make the Muse pay attention and obey.
I think of my son's description of the Russian Cat Circus that he attended a number of years ago in New York City.  "The trainer would give a command for a trick," said my son. "Then the cats would do the trick. Or they would do a different trick. Or they would do nothing."
Most of us discard by age 3 or so the notion that we can control cats, that we can do so by force, and that we will remain unscathed in the process.  Our collective human experience should teach us that it is even more dangerous to cross a Muse.  The Muse is a Goddess, after all (or a God).  Remember, for example, that Artemis slew Actaeon?  It's much safer for us creative people---and in the long run probably much more productive for us---to abandon our attempts to give orders to our Muse.  Instead, we ought simply to receive, with a gracious, sincere, and grateful heart,  every gift the Muse brings to our doorstep.  True, this time the gift might be only a dead mouse...but the next time it might be a masterpiece.

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1 comment:

  1. and who is to say that a dead mouse is not the first ingredient of a masterpiece? wonderful post.