Spent any time with your muse lately?

I checked out the muses in Greek mythology, and they weren't quite what I had in mind.
I checked out the muses in Greek mythology, and they weren’t quite what I had in mind.

EVERYONE HAS A MUSE. Did you know that? It’s what I’ve been told. It may be hidden or you may not have stumbled across it yet. But, it’s there.

Every artist, whether a writer, a painter, an actor, or singer, has found a muse.  That’s why they do what they do.

WHAT IS A MUSE?

But, exactly what is a muse. The dictionary describes it as follows:

“Classical Mythology.  a.any of a number of sister goddesses, originally given as Aoede (song), Melete (meditation), and Mneme (memory), but latterly and more commonly as the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who presided over various arts: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy); identified by the Romans with the Camenae.

Or any goddess presiding over a particular art.”

Sister goddesses. Hmm. I’ve never met one! Am I missing something?

I decided to take a hard look at what inspires me when I write. By some accounts, I am led to believe it should be something related to the story you are telling. Okay, so I researched the daughters of Zeus and decided it was either Calliope, Clio, or Erato that fit my story telling talents.

So… Calliope is often depicted carrying a book or parchment around. Clio is called ‘The Proclaimer’ and also carries around scrolls or parchments. Erato charms the sight and is usually holding a torch. Which one to choose?

Patty Wiseman
Patty Wiseman

I studied them (I’ve always loved Greek mythology) and had some fun imagining some being standing over my shoulder shedding light over the brilliant passages I was writing down. Okay, so much for silliness.

People who don’t write have this misconception that it must be easy to write a book. I mean, look how many people are out there doing it now. Except it isn’t. I don’t care how many rules you learn, how many writing classes you take, how many seminars you go to, at times writing can be very hard!

If you don’t have the inspiration for the story you are writing, or the painting you are painting, or the song you are singing it will fall flat.

FINDING MY MUSE

So what exactly is my muse? All this Greek goddess nonsense really isn’t making it any easier, so I did what I do best, procrastinate. I put away the Greek mythology and headed downtown to do a bit of shopping, always a nice distraction.

I was in the dollar store looking for raffle tickets when a lady swept through the front door dressed in black. Her hair was the color of chestnut, the exact color of my main character’s hair. Her smile was infectious; her laughter rang out like a song.

Confidence radiated from her face and from the way she carried herself. However, what struck my eye was the sheer paisley scarf draped around her shoulders, just the right accent to her otherwise severe outfit, delicate, perfectly placed. It made a statement.

There she was—my muse! That one impression gave me exactly what I needed to round out my character in the book. If I hadn’t been afraid I’d be arrested, I would have taken a picture of her so I could get it just right when I got home. I held back from taking that step. Wouldn’t want to become a stalker.

Excited, I couldn’t wait to meet my girlfriend for lunch. I finished my purchases and went straight to the restaurant. She was there, smiling and waving. We ordered and while we waited, I told her what happened in the store. She’s not a writer, so didn’t express the appropriate amount of enthusiasm. I sighed. “Can’t you understand? I’ve found exactly the right personality to apply to my character.”

The waiter brought our food and my friend’s eyes lit up as she stared at her plate.

“What’s wrong, didn’t they get it right?” I asked.

She picked up a piece of decorative parsley and held it up. “Look! This is what’s missing!”

“Missing? You’re missing parsley?”

“No, silly, the green. You know, in my painting. I need to add this color green in the landscape.”

I looked at her, she looked at me, and we both started to laugh. Suddenly, she understood the paisley woman, and I totally understood the color of green.

Our muse. We each found it. No Greek goddesses, no in depth meditation. Something simple, because we were open to our world.

FIND YOUR MUSE!

So whether it’s a paisley scarf or a spring of parsley, your muse is out there. Open you mind, your senses, your heart!

Find your muse! Find it!

Patty Wiseman’s newest novel is An Unlikely Conclusion, which she wrote without the help of any muse.

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  • Some things just seem to come out of nowhere when you need them for writing. But you have to be paying attention. Once your mind is thinking in a certain direction, it’s wonderful what things will appear serendipitously to fill the holes.

    ‘Normal’ people don’t have this happen to them.

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