Have you ever felt so absorbed in concentrated urgency that you can’t leave your chair but you somehow fly from your laptop huddle in Central Jersey to say, an ocean view from the Port of Gibraltar?
Let’s up the ante. Book that flight in the 4th century AD.
The muse is just such a vehicle. She whisks you through the gridlocks in your mind-and scoffs at physical restrictions such as time and space or the fact that you’ve had to pee for six hours. It’s the muse that will take your hand and stamp your “don’t you dare close your eyes” passport. You might forget that your mind is her very powerful engine, your hands, her wild factory. You are an active participant once you accept her invitation.
Yet, even with her ancient breath in your heartbeat, a multi-octave song that floods your chest with ever-more accurate, unfolding waves of “oh my god, that’s it”, you might hesitate and stumble when you walk toward her velvet rope. Like every other meaningful experience in life, the muse(s) asks you to participate, which means you gotta be bold and humble all at once, and show way more cards than you may like. The muse requires your soul documents, the truth of who you really are.
Let’s face it. If you are anything like me, you might rummage through such scattered torn papers and feel small and inadequate, or get cocky in defense or curse at what you are likely to lose with each revelation (it’s always something), but should you follow her voice, it is steeped in the sound of dazzling time. And with new attentive spark, the rippled hum of a bell, with care and delight at the ancestors you realize you carry in your hair and eyes, and the lives and sacred feelings left in scattered books and music lyrics and piano concertos and dusty footprints and stories told on benches upon a trodden carpet amidst cardboard cut outs and ballpoint pens in airports and every booked flight. Stories upon stories. It was all–always– there. Go ahead, take your shoes off and place them in a box. It’s the only way to make it through the gate.
The muses, nine goddesses of art, literature, science and music, born to the Goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne, remind us again and again what it means to pay attention to our best selves, which means capable of and willing to learn. With delight and elbow grease and the flow of purpose and inspiration.
But how do you, during long dry spells, find the Muse? I hear you.
Well, I can only tell you what I’ve learned. That, if the muse is fickle, she is also generous when we devote our thoughts to her regularly, when we plant careful seeds to pour water upon even when we don’t see them bloom for a long while, they sprout where it matters, slowly, indiscernibly, in the tiniest flowerings underneath the ground, the most reliable of all.
The Author’s Muse is my “garden of thoughts” as singer song-writer Ani DiFranco once sang… “Got a garden of songs where I grow all my thoughts.” I’ll devote space to my articles and musings about the creative life in the Author’s Muse, but I’ll also devote time for all the others who bring me towards a fuller bloom, to articles and quotes and songs and conversations and books and films that make my hair stand right on end, expressions that stretch me and remind me who I am– and who I want to be. In them all, I feel her, the voice that rises in my stomach when I remember why I’ve been writing since before I was ten years old. Many many years later, how good it feels to continue to grow my own voice and nurture the same for others. Right in the middle of that garden of connection, warm sturdy dependable hands tending each other under the ground — where no one else can see.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.