My Muse and How We Work Together

 

I resisted the idea of a Muse for a long time. However the deeper I delved into my craft the more aware of the idea of one I became. After reading a handful of books on creativity and writing, it seems the Muse is indeed associated with the professional. Breathing a sigh of relief I acknowledged her presence and in doing so have gained a significant increase in my writing output. 

The Muse is different for every artist and all I can do is talk about mine and how she works. Mine is a she. She is my alter ego. As I pondered on her I realised she has been with me my entire life. I was one of those kids who never lost the magic of imagination coming into adulthood and she is the source and inspiration of my imagination. Since recognising her, she has shown herself more clearly. She is the gate keeper between my conscious and subconscious and she alone is the only one who allows me to stand at the gate and watch what pours forth into my conscious mind. The subconscious is where she works and I am always delighted to see what she has brought for me to play with.

Many people think the Muse must appear in order for the work to happen. That an artist sits and waits for the Muse and then, struck to the ground with inspiration, gets to work. That is never how the relationships works. For the artist must begin the work, alone and continue doing the work until the Muse arrives. The Muse has no time for hacks or wannabes. She only works with artists and a true artist must prove themselves worthy enough to work with the Muse. They must work on their own, day after day until the Muse is satisfied that a partnership can commence, knowing that what she gives the artist will in fact be transformed into art. 

Everyday I sit at my desk and write. On my own, doing the work with what I have and then while I work my Muse will impart a diamond of an idea, drop it front and centre into my conscious mind and I rejoice at its genius and work with it straight away. The idea takes my story in a new and different direction and the story is richer because of it. She opened the gates and allowed an idea, already present to enter because she knows I work and knows I will put it good use. 

Now we have a solid working relationship, because that is what it is. A relationship. I have proven to her that I am trustworthy of her genius. That I work hard, am committed, reliable and will take on what she says and sculpt it into art. She doesn’t only appear at my desk. In fact more and more she appears when I least expect. Like when I am simply doing the dishes or making the bed, or just sitting out in the sun relaxing. Those moments when my mind wonders off into another world is when she opens those gates as far as she can and the most volume comes into my mind. 

She does this only once. My Muse does not repeat herself, so if I fail to get down the bubble of an idea that she presents to me in those moments, they are lost, never to return and I have lost too many to allow that to happen again. So now, when it occurs I literally drop everything and go, to my desk, to a pen and paper or to the notes in my phone if I am out, mumbling an apology to whoever I am with, but I must capture what has been gifted. She knows as long as I have recorded the idea I will use it when the time to work comes again. Which is how this post came to be. Washing the dishes and, boom, idea bomb. 

Acknowledge the Muse, get to work and keep going. You must prove yourself first and when you do the Muse will appear and it will be the beginning of a creative partnership that will last all of your days. 

Sunday Meditation – Lost

Lost. How easily we lose ourselves in this world where we are bombarded throughout our day with messages telling us who we should be. As we grow we loose ourselves as our identity blurs before coming into focus. When we listen to the external, it tells us to be like everyone else. It offers to pull us out of the quagmire and provides instant direction and identity. Yet it will not solve what we are searching for. Ourselves. We will only drift off course further and finding the track again will be made much more difficult than before. Know that it is part of the process to be lost. To ask questions that don’t yet have answers, as uncomfortable as that is. We need faith in ourselves and our ability to find the way forward. Because no one knows us better than we know ourselves, trust in that and we will not remain lost for long.

Restoring Order

piano

I am still lost. Directionless. I strongly dislike this state of being. Each morning I rose and when it was time to write I sat at my uncluttered desk and closed my eyes and watched my characters act. I would open my eyes and type. Except for those wonderful moments when I was in a state of flow and would sit with my eyes shut, immersed in another world and my fingers would dance over the keyboard. When I opened my eyes I was shocked, no words had red dots underneath them. The passage perfectly transcribed. 

Now in the mornings I feel choked in chaos. Objects sit around the edge of my desk, infringing on my space. I sit listening to music unable to construct in the silence. Yet all I produce are ramblings and half ideas that loop to something unrelated and back again. I thought perhaps I should try something different so I ventured into poetry. A way of writing that I have never studied or taken any notice of. Except for the lyrical poetry composed with music that are the songs who reach down inside me and capture my attention. So I tried, I even used pen and paper. My handwriting is ugly enough and adding words bastardised the experience even more. However I wrote and kept producing line after line. My pen plunged in and tapped into the virgin waters of an undiscovered stream which provided invaluable insight that permanently shifted my thinking a few degrees. Bad poetry yes, but enlightening all the same.  

Perhaps that is what now is all about. Experimenting, sharpening my tools, learning by doing. A period of challenge for me and I feel called to go with it. Try new things each day, poetry, micro fiction, grand speeches, soap box lectures, soul baring pieces and even some superficial fluff. It all has a place and value and it teaches.

Of course in order for all of this to happen I need an outlet for my overwhelming desire for order and direction. Frankly after spending two hours reorganising the pantry I don’t want to take it out on the rest of the house. I am far too undomestic to keep that up. I pulled out the electronic piano keyboard. It was collecting an impressive layer of dust under the barely used guest bed. Like poetry, I play this instrument poorly. I never learnt as a child, too busy lost in my daydreams to focus in music class. However as an adult, many years ago, in another place, I took lessons and began to learn. Life, as it consistently does, stepped in, the keyboard shafted under a bed. 

It has a place in my house now and when I am alone, I sit and play. I found the old music books, stashed away in my library, held onto for that whimsical one day. Well that one day is now. Playing is like riding a bike. I am moving through the pages quickly and confidently. I have order and structure and direction. I can see progress and have a clear objective. Finish these books and go find myself a teacher to learn more. 

The other day I read that sometimes the best way to unlock one creative channel is to open another. I realised that is what I am doing. It may be early days, but I feel order is being restored. My writing flows better as I fumble through experimentation and after I am done with that struggle I sit at my other keyboard. And play beautiful music that reaches deep down and captures my attention.