Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Muses

Writers are always going on about their muses, what kind of mood their muses are in, what their muses ate for breakfast, how awesome Muse the band is (they are!), and how to get their stubborn muses to cooperate.

Oh, those stubborn muses. Technically, I have two of them. There's Black Muse and Brown Muse, otherwise known as Boo and Bella.


These two serve me well, and they're darn cute. When I'm having trouble writing, I try to blame them. They look at me with patient, innocent eyes...well, the cat's eyes are rarely innocent, but that's beside the point...and I realize that there's no one to blame for the words not getting onto paper but myself.
Wait a minute. Isn't the point of having a muse to have someone to blame when the writing doesn't work out? Someone to give credit when that magical moment happens and the words are flowing faster than you can write them? I'm not sure I'm ready for this. Besides, I'm not trying to put Boo and Bella out of a job here. They're unionized.

But what if they're right? What if it is really just my own fault for not getting the words down on paper? 


Maybe the answer is not to give up on muses altogether--where's the romance in that?--but that I need more muses. Maybe there are already applications on file and all I need to do is pull some resumes. 

Today I found a muse in the form of a 51 year old man who has been homeless for the last 18 years. Today, for the first time in probably a very, very long time, he asked for help. Not the little kind of help like, "Will you please pass me a napkin?" or, "Can someone please make her stop reading her novel to me?" This was the real kind of help, the kind that hurts, the kind that makes you feel weak even though you know that all you're really doing is taking your hands away from a wound and hoping your insides won't fall out. His didn't, and they won't, but it doesn't mean that it won't feel like it sometimes. It's a long road for him. He'll change his mind. But, for probably the first time in his life, he'll change it back and he knows that he has the support behind him to eventually change it and keep it that way. 

I can't think of a better muse than that for today. I'm going to borrow his energy, his trepidation, his mischief, and his courage and do my very best to infuse it into my writing. I don't care if what I'm writing is a blurb for a caption contest, we can all use a little of what he demonstrated today. 

There are muses among us, as plentiful as the inspiration that can be plucked from the trees. Sometimes I wonder why everyone isn't an artist of some sort. Maybe they are and I just haven't deciphered their mediums.

No comments: