Tonight I was caught up in musings about my actual Muse. What does she look like? What are her characteristics? Of course, I am drawn to the idea of an actual Greek Goddess as my muse. But I also believe that my inspiration is a melding of a multitude of strong, glorious women from down through the ages.
Part of me feels like I put pen to paper and cannot always take the credit for what comes next – so powerful is my muse at times: speaking from a variety of perspectives. Some days I hear whisperings from the strong, silent, planted firmly in the seat she felt should be hers, Rosa Parks. I have written from beneath the pulpit where Sojourner Truth spoke her truth and made the room quake with thunderous applause.
Other times, the words I hear are much more in line with a Lucille Ball getting herself in trouble for something ridiculous. The mother side of me wants to believe I hear words of wisdom from Ma Walton, or the mom from Little House on the Prairie.
At times, I am on the plain with adventurous women, who rode off into the sunset alone after great quests. I hear them. I hear their accents and their tones of voice. There are days I am vibrant and alive, pounding my fist and speaking my soul on paper. Sometimes I hear soft hums of fairy women over blades of grass too beautiful for words.
There are so many sides to my muse. She is beautiful and angry sometimes. She is soft and reassuring at others. I take from different styles and blend into my own voice. I read last night an amazing line from Gail Sher… actually a title for one of her essays reads, “Art is Theft, Art is Armed Robbery, Art is Not Pleasing Your Mother.” She opens with a quote from T.S. Eliot, “A minor poet borrows, a great poet steals.” And this doesn’t mean plagiary by any means. It means that anything I’ve ever read or heard or dreamt or sung has become part of my lexicon, part of my inspiration. It all gets tossed around inside my head, and becomes the whisperings of my muse, perched on my shoulder, hand cupped to her mouth, ardently telling me things I need to contemplate and translate and formulate into my own thoughts and ramblings. Sometimes it is borrowed like a line from Prufrock: Do I dare to eat a Peach? Sometimes, when it has become truly mine, it comes out as my own words, so fully have I incorporated those precious words into my heart.
What does your muse look like? Who are your inspirations?
Photo from here.