Unmasking the Muse

I’ve been pondering the nature of the Muse lately. (Give me credit for not saying musing about the Muse.) If I took the time to search my old blog posts, I’m fairly certain I’d find I’m contradicting myself today, so let’s just say my concept of the Muse has changed. Evolved.

I haven’t always been aware of the concept of a Muse. For most of my life, I wrote without wonder at the origin of the words. Sure, I’d heard the word and had a vague knowledge of the Muses of Greek mythology, but felt no connection, no need, for one in my life. Then, I started hanging out with other writers.

Writers love to refer to The Muse. We praise her, curse her, petition, beg, bribe, and worship her. She is friend and foe. Temperamental beyond reason, she inspires a great flow one minute, and refuses to dole out a single word the next. A beneficent Muse is the object of every writer’s desire.

So, I asked, who is she, where does she reside, and how can I get better access to her? Would I tap into the Muse if only I did, said, learned the right thing? I thought of her as something other, some ethereal being—The Force in this writerverse. And if I was one of the Chosen Few, the powers that be would declare, “The Muse is strong in this one.” Ummm … no.

I don’t think this way any longer because I unmasked my Muse. She looked quite familiar. Spirit? Yes, but only my own. I don’t need to look outside myself. Everything I need to write is within. Inspiration may appear to come from outside, but these external things only echo what is already within myself. They serve to call up a memory, an emotion, a desire, a fear and then, because I’m a writer, these echoes are released in words. If the Muse is strong in me, it’s only because I’m listening. If the Muse has “deserted” me, it’s only because I’m too busy looking for her out there. I’m too busy looking, period. Just. Be. Still.

Maybe you already knew this. Maybe you have already grasped this power. If not, go look in the mirror now and introduce yourself to “The Muse.”

29 thoughts on “Unmasking the Muse

  1. I’ve always struggled with the concept of the muse. Like you I used to write without thought for the process, then I went to university . . . Sometimes I wonder if the quest to understand the creative writing process is an excuse for failure, after all, if it doesn’t work we can always blame the muse.

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