The dictionary defines a muse as "the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like."
Historically in mythology a Muse is one of the 9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who each preside over some form of art: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy).
|Roman statue of Erato, 2nd century AD.|
The muse is depicted playing
the kithara or lyre.
I know a lot of artists. We tend to be drawn to each other, we find solace in the misery of our fellow artists. Its cliche, the tortured artist, but its a cliche for a reason. Art is a very emotional thing. I have found that the stronger the emotion the stronger the art.
That being said, there is a very fine line between being inspired by emotion and being stymied by it. Look at the dates on my poetry blog archives. Between 2013 and 2017 nothing was posted. I was in a very deep dark depression and trying hard to keep my head above water. I produced NOTHING. I was working hard on finding myself again after having lost my sense of identity. 2017 was transformative. I spent the entire year in a very frustrated place. I hated where I was.
I was determined to get back to being creative because I remember being happy when being creative. So I vowed to do a little something every day in 2018. I started bullet journaling and doing a different creative challenge every day. In January it was a photo a day. In February it was InCoWriMo (Correspondence writing). March has been a list prompt every day.
Each of those worked to help stir my pot of creative juices, but it took a catalyst to make the pot boil over. My catalyst was a muse in the shape of a person. Another artist. Another tortured soul looking for some relief from the pressure that unfulfilled art builds up inside of you. I've known him for about 3 years now but we just recently connected on a more personal level.
Hearing his story and bouncing ideas around together was the very thing I needed to get back on the bandwagon. My muse doesn't directly inspire everything I do (though certainly you can find a piece of him in everything). For me its more like his presence inspires me to want to write more. I write for me (and honestly for him too because he is super talented and I look up to him as an artist and I want to impress him). I am sure there are some budding astrophysicists out there publishing papers in the hopes that Neil Degrasse Tyson reads it and makes a comment on it. He's my NDT.
In essence my muse gives me the gentle nudge I need to get my work out. Sometimes its a thing he says, sometimes its a thing he does. SOMETIMES I don't even realize he inspired it until I have it written down and I'm all like... "oh yeah.. he's all over this". Sometimes its not even about him at all.
I don't know how other people get their ideas for their art. Mine all come from my life. I have millions of ideas but they never make it to paper. With a little help from my muse some of it makes out into the world.
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References: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/muse; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erato;