An author once told me I must find my muse before I could write. When I finally found her, she was wearing a rubber helmet, a latex catsuit, a very tight corset, an armbinder, and ballet-toe boots with seven inch heels. I suspect I am not meant to be a writer.
Reading an article about the history of muses in cicero (magazine), I was cringing a little when the author pointed out that muses have been replaced by groupies and that today they do not play the same role they have had for the great authors of the pasts.
I think I created my best works when I did them ‘for’ a muse — real or imagined … or both. These muses have been existing women I had fallen in love with (usually unhappily), abstract concepts like “science” (cast into a concrete form in my mind as an unimpeachable Greek statue), and even imagined persons in the future who I ‘made up’ as an ‘ideal’ target audience.
I think these muses were essential because they allowed me to see the world differently … and because sometimes your immediate social ‘life’ just sucks. Sometimes it’s very hard to care enough to create something beautiful and useful if you perceive all people around you as human hyena’s — either snickering about other people’s misfortunes or actively instigating them. Without these — real or imagined or twilight — muses I wouldn’t have created the works I now love. I wouldn’t have improved over time. I wouldn’t have created anything.
And so I don’t think that the time of muses has past, on the contrary. It’s just very hard to find a muse worthy enough of devoted attention. A muse who is able to allow one to see the world through their eyes and who is capable of inspiring creatives to care enough to create. Of all the women I have met, perhaps one or two have had the potential to make a great muse for a very short time. ‘For a very short time’, because few women today can stay a mystery for long. I’m not only talking about grace, class (irrespective of social class) and that certain je ne sais quoi that make them rise above the ordinary and mundane, but also the self-confidence to give into curiosity and the courage to be open to life, to enjoy it by living life and not strip mining it. And unfortunately, the ugly parts of a person are (being) revealed quite early these days where nothing is hidden anymore and intense communication happens at light-speed.
But this doesn’t stop me looking for muses who inspire me, who touch my heart and my mind, who make life bearable. And if I do not find them in this world, I simply create them in my mind.
After all, they are made for stimulating creativity and what better place to keep a muse than in the one place where creativity happens?