Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feeding Your Muse

In ancient Greece, those who were creative begged for the indulgence of strange creatures.  There were nine of them, most often depicted as beautiful women in sheer robes.  I'm speaking, of course, of the fabled Muses.  They were the source of inspiration, relators of history and guardians of culture.  And now, in our modern age, those of us who write, act, dance, play music, or do any other creative thing, reach for our inspiration in many locations, but you'll still hear us refer to "our muse."

And a damned persnickity thing she is.

How often have we sat in our chairs, befuddled by the words on our screens, begging, pleading for one of the nine (we often don't care which) to land on our fingers and grace us with an idea, a single word, or even muse-excrement?  And more often than not, she laughs and dances away until it suits her schedule to lend us aid.  Air spirits must be busy. But the best way to keep your muse happy, to provide you with inspiration, is to feed her.  I don't mean cheeseburgers and Oreos, either.  Oreos are reserved for the inner critic and Cheeseburgers, while tasty with bacon, serve to create a fat muse.

To feed your muse, you need to ingest a steady diet of first-hand stimuli.  In layman's terms, you have to get up off your butt and go experience new things.  New foods, new places, new events.  It doesn't have to be the grand opening of every restaurant in town, but things that are new to you.  It's surprising how simple it can be.  Take a different route driving to work.  For once, try that new salad dressing.  Experience what it's like to do something you've never done before, from actually watching an ant pile (which is, by the way, oddly fascinating) to taking a walk along a river.  Talk to people who do things you would never do.  Scared of needles but are curious about what it's like to get a tattoo?  Ask someone!  Wonder where the ducks go when they're not in the pond?  Follow them and find out.  Have you ever actually stood outside during a thunderstorm and just let the rain soak you to the skin?  It's  exhilarating!  No matter where you live, there is no way that you've done everything there is to do there.

Complacency and letting yourself get into a rut is the surest way to drive your muse away.  Indulgent curiosity will keep her well fed and happy, and when she's happy, she'll visit more often.

Good luck!  And WRITE ON!

No comments:

Post a Comment