“Uh, what’s a Muse?”
“Wow. I’ve used that term for years (decades), and no one has ever posed that question. Hmmm. My copy of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary—it takes two men and three small boys just to lift it—has about a whole page, font size two, on the Muse. Most of it deals with contemplation, rumination, reflection, wondering, marveling and the like. Toward the bottom, however, it refers to Greek mythology, the Muse being any one of nine ‘sister goddesses or Graces’ that preside over learning and the creative arts. But let’s not go there.
“Instead, let’s consider this definition: ‘The personification of a guiding genius or principal source of inspiration (emphasis added).’ Later it sharpens the point by calling the Muse ‘The creative spirit of an individual,’ to which I would add: The Muse is the spark that ignites our creative spirit. You okay with the Muse now?”
“Yeah, I think so. You’re saying that we each have a creative spirit, and we rely on our Muse to be the yeast for our writing?”
“Well said, sir. Couldn’t have put it any better.
“It’s okay to start with a definition, but what I want to know is how do we activate our Muse. Too many times I sit in front of a blank screen, poised and empty headed. How do I spark my creative juices?”
“Ah, dear friend, I couldn’t pay someone cash money for questions as good as yours. The answer is as simple to understand as it can be difficult to manifest. Let’s turn the tables around. What do you think would fire up your creative neurons?”
“We wouldn’t be having this discussion if I could answer that.”
“Give it a shot anyway, Dave.”
“Wait, hold it. How did you know my name?”
“Ah. We creators of fiction can do anything. I asked the Universe for your name, and poof, there it was, right on the tip of my keyboard so to speak. Go ahead, take a shot.”
“Okay. Inspiration is the same as the so-called ‘still small voice’ (SSV) that helps us sort out right from wrong. Sort of like a moral compass.”
“Good start, especially the first part about the still small voice. But remember, in fiction we can make anything in the world either right or wrong. What you are looking for is how to tune in to your SSV, right? How to sit in front of your monitor, banish your fear of failure, tune into your Muse, and begin writing.”
“And the answer is. . . ?”
“You listen. Not as you would to Beethoven’s Ninth, or for the telephone to ring, you must go deeper than that. You must go to the quiet space where the Muse resides. And you must go with confidence and joy, as if you were greeting an old friend. In fact, you must treat your Muse in just that way. Talk to it as an old friend. And don’t forget to be thankful. Give it credit and appreciation for its invaluable assistance, just as you would for anyone who helped you.”
“You are starting to sound like one of those TV gurus who hawk the power of positive thinking.”
“Sorry. Would you be blown away if I told you I was channeling the Muse right now, as I write these words? Do you think I had any idea where this was going to go when we started out? Sorry to disabuse you, Dave, but you are getting this straight from the Muse’s mouth.
“I have been attached to my Muse for so long that I no longer need any ritual process to turn on the creativity ignition switch. You might not always like my results—lots of times I don’t either—but then I call on the Muse to help me fix it. And that usually works. Without my Muse I’d probably have a hard time writing checks, never mind novels.
“Dave, I’ve really enjoyed the beginning of a discussion that will require a series of Blogs to capture the essence of the questions: How do I activate my Muse? How can I make the process close to automatic? What feeds my Muse? What could damage it? No doubt other questions will occur to us in the fullness of our new Blogventure.
“So, Dave, here’s what I want you to do. Share this with some of your writer friends. Invite them to join our Blogventure journey. They may have some good stuff to contribute. Till next time, be good to your Muse, and sharpen your point.”
To be continued. . . .