The Silence of the Muse

Creator: Daeng Buasand – “Write Life”

Suggested Listening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpsDegqioVA

Grrrrrrr!  Today my muse is giving me the silent treatment!  I hate it when she does this.

It’s usually because we disagree over what’s deemed to be publish worthy.

“This isn’t quite right,” I say.  “It doesn’t flow.  You know, I’m just not feeling it.  How do you think the audience will?”

“Such a cop out,” says the muse, “the  truth of the matter is you’re just too chicken.  You’re more concerned with what people might think of you than being true to your work.”

“Excuse me?” I ask incredulously.  “The last time I checked work is a four letter word that has the concept of compensation attached to it at the end of a long day!”

“That’s your problem!  You always have to have things right now!  An ant has more courage than you!”

“Shut up!”  I mutter.  I ball up another one of her ideas and throw it in the trash.

“Fine then!  Sabotage yourself!” and POOF!  She’s gone.  Maybe what we were fleshing out together was better than I thought, now that I think about it.

It doesn’t matter now; she’s gone.  Invisible.   Maddeningly silent.   Fine then, indeed!  Pages get typed, edited, revised, and then filed again into an enlarging file titled “Unfinished”.    It could just as well be titled, “Unworthy”.

Hours pass.  Intermittent flashes of inspiration hit when I’m away from my desk and abruptly leave upon my return.  Now the day is over, and I’m mad that there isn’t anything I feel confident about publishing.    This is the divine torture of the artist:

Mistaking the value of the creation higher than the value of the creator.

The artist’s esteem can also be easily crushed by the future perception of an audience not yet known.    Artists insure the field of psychiatry will continue to stay prosperous.

I was about to cry, and then a little voice inside me rose up and let me know, just like my writing today, I am unfinished.  But that is a far cry from unworthy. 

Never mix up the two.    Even when your muse isn’t on speaking terms with you.

I know she’ll come back; she always does.

Oh look, she must have come back.  She just scampered across my playlist and left me this song as a peace offering.  I think we’re back together.  🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jloQ6xsx3bE

“Unwritten” by Natasha Beddingfield

My Fickle Muse

Image

Try to find your deepest issue in every confusion and abide by that.  D.H. Lawrence

I have such a fickle muse.  This muse who always shows up uninvited when I’m busy working on anything in real life other than writing, and who arrives fashionably late or sometimes not at all when I most desperately need her.    She is like the invisible friend one has in childhood, but you get teased by older siblings if seen talking to her.

She is fleeting.  She rides the wind currents of air and rolls in and out with the changing of the tide.   She’s entirely unpredictable and unreliable, and yet I love her so.  I never know if this is the day she’ll show up.  If I could contain her, I would trap her so she would stay with me just a little while longer and whisper those things she wants only me to know, and even less she allows me to share.

She laughs at me when I’m frustrated, and sits oddly still, giving me the silent treatment, when I tell her I have all the time of the world to spend with her for now.  When I perceive pressure and deadlines, she is always out partying no doubt.

My muse, yes, he is a strange one.  Constantly changing form, and swirling all around me.   I carry a secret happiness knowing only I can see him sometimes.   I smile during inappropriate moments and places because he tells me things he doesn’t share with anyone else.  And then he says the magic three words, every writer’s heart longs to hear:

Write this down.

On nights when all is right in my world, the tasks of the day are done, and I’m about to shut my eyes for what will surely be a rare night of deep sleep, he hovers just inches over my freshly closed eyes.  I can barely feel the fluttering of him, but still I do.  WAKE UP!  Did you know about this?  What are you going to do with this news?    No, I think, not now.  I don’t need you right now.  Yes, my fickle muse is sometimes an annoying little pest.

If I’m in the shower, I sometimes can faintly hear him singing.  But if I try to sing with him, he quickly vanishes.    Sometimes he’ll write my memoirs when I’m not looking, and when I find them and read them, I’ll shriek, “Hey!  That’s not true!” and then I compose myself, because when I try to recall the past, sometimes, I’m not sure.

Like a cat, he sometimes taps across my keyboard leaving a trail of misspelled words, misplaced and excess punctuation.   The ultimate revisionist, he sometimes substitutes made up words for real ones.  He’s a prankster too.  Sometimes, when feeling particularly devilish, I’ll be nearly finished writing a post, a page, or an outline, and I will hit “save” as he simultaneously deletes what was surely my best work.  Finito!

She certainly contributes to a mild case of crazy.  Sometimes she’ll brighten the room with such a huge flash of inspiration.  I’ll get two or three sentences written.  Amazing!  I think to myself.  Then, faster than the flash of words she just gave me, she runs off with a band of her bohemian friends, leaving me stranded for days without capability of follow through.  I look back and don’t even know what we were talking about in the first place.

Sometimes when life is unbelievably complicated, and writing feels like a chore with no joy, she’s suddenly sitting beside me, my biggest cheerleader.  You can do this, you know she whispers.  I always knew you would, how come you didn’t?  She sees my tears I cry in secret, and carries them to painters who need vibrant water to mix with their duller colors.

My muse, I love him so.   When I feel lost and alone, he’ll stop and sit beside me when I pray.  I sense a calmness just knowing he is there.   When I’m out and about mixing with all the people of the world, he always leaves me be, because he knows that I know deep down, I am fine without him.

Together we form words ex nihilo!  We create beauty alla prima!  After the creation is finished, he leaves.    I know why.  I’m not his only one.

Yes, she leaves me, not because she’s selfish, but because she’s generous.   See, she has to help the other artists too.  There are poets also struggling to find the perfect word, painters who go to the ends of the earth searching for the truest blue, the ballerina who strives for the perfect grand battement, the singer who aches for the melody that will complement the lyrics, or the pianist who seeks to arrange a composition to perfection.    My muse is not faithful to me, but is full of faith in me, and for that I’m grateful.

Yes, sometimes I see the calling card of my muse in others too.  It’s the secret glance of other artists.  It’s the question within a question that they ask.  Or it’s the connection one’s soul has when meeting another like-minded person.   You see, a muse always leaves their mark.  You know it; the bumper sticker that states “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty”.   That’s the reaction many a muse has caused.

Tempus Fugit!  Our time together is finished.  I leave here, only to set foot out into the world, searching, always longing to find my muse, and bring her safely home.

Suggested Listening:  Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EIeUlvHAiM