Yesterday, while browsing through several other WordPress blogs, I found a comment (Spasmically Perfect), in which one writer told another that her muse looked like Danny DeVito. I really liked the idea of my muse wearing a face I could recognize. So I stated that my muse looked like a skinny Tom-boy with creamed coffee curls. But this morning, when I awoke, I found she had grown into a Medusa-haired Amazon spouting radical feminist rhetoric. What happened?
Someone gave me the name of a poet and the site where I could listen to him read his work. I did so and his words called for a response. As I wrote, his cadence and rhythms kept swirling through my head and I found myself adopting some of that as I put together a response poem. The poem started out with an image he had created and then went where it wanted go. I let it do so, exploring as I followed. When it was finished, I sent it off to the friend that had suggested I take a look at this man’s writing. I even told her to look and see what she had done. The poem was quite different from my usual stuff.
This morning, I knew I was going to write my usual journal page, then come here to write another blog. But my muse had very different ideas. She definitely wanted to add some more to the piece I thought I had finished last night. She kept interrupting my journal writing with phrases and words that made me smile, because I could see where they were going and they were definitely in those other rhythms I was playing with during the past evening. Simply put, she wouldn’t be denied. So now I have a poem that is twice as long as I thought it should be and I have no idea if its finished or not.
As I have browsed through some of the blogs on this site and others, especially those pertaining to writing and writers, I have often seen a lot of discussion about what is called The Writer’s Block. That’s when the writer can’t seem to get past a certain point in his/her writing. It can be utterly frustrating and even devastating, especially when there are deadlines to meet, whether they are self-imposed or otherwise. More to the point, I almost allowed myself to be talked into one this morning. I don’t come here with a set idea of what I am going to write about. I always do my personal writing first, and most times, in the course of doing that find a phrase, or idea, that I bring here. Then I just start writing and it comes together. That is the result of years of off the cuff writing on a daily basis. Just another reason for keeping a journal, by the way.
Most important, is to remember that the Muse is a myth dating back to ancient Greece or before. As a matter of fact, she wasn’t one, but many. There were Muses for different genres of expression, symbolizing the creative forces and their feminine origins. And each muse wore a different face depending on which of the creative forces was in play. The word play here, is very important. Muses were pictured using the instruments of their chosen expression: one might be playing a mandolin, another using a plumed pen and so forth. But each one was playing with the instrument of her expression, using her imagination to explore a new form of her creative energies.
Each time we sit to write, pick up a pen, place ourselves in front of a computer screen, we are signaling our willingness to play, letting those creative forces know that we are back in the ball game, sort of speak. We are encouraging our imagination to speak through us. And it does. That may be the problem. If we get too comfortable with only one face of our imagination, we might very well panic when it doesn’t appear. Might not understand when another face appears instead. Might even think, somewhere down the road, that we have exhausted our creative energies and there is nothing left. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Creative energy is built into the system, our systems. It is as necessary as the air we breathe and has just as important a purpose. If we limit it, we ourselves will be narrowed down and limited. If we only allow it to wear one face, then we will certainly be out of luck when it assumes another. Rest assured it will assume another on occasion. It is an energy flow, thus it is always moving, always changing, and evolving. We are dependant on it in order to grow, to heal, and to become.
If I had turned away, or ignored that Medusa image this morning, I might have blocked the poem entirely and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this blog because there would be none. My entire day would have been a different story and certainly far less satisfying, met with a whole lot less eagerness, as well. Long ago, I read that the best thing to do when one finds oneself tangled up in a memory, compulsively reliving the moment and its attendant feelings and states of being, the best thing to do is to move. Simply move oneself out of the place one finds oneself in, be that physically, mentally, or emotionally. The movement is what brings about the change. To choose not to move, is to choose to remain inside that other moment.
The same can be said of the Muse. Let her change her face, reveal herself, and all of her facets, while moving you to a different form of expression. Let her show you just what she is capable of, and she will teach you some very worthwhile things. And trust that she’ll let you get back to what you were doing before she came along. She does understand deadlines.
There are those who will say that this sounds a bit out of control. Be grateful for that. I am. If I were really in control of all of these words, they probably wouldn’t get written at all. I’d still be in bed, dreaming about an Amazon figure with snakes on her head, trying to find a way to free myself from a nightmare, or worse, a Writer’s Block.