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My Ugly Muse
On Prolific Writing
© 2012 James LaFond
“Every step is a void of discovery.”
-blind man
Thanks to the legend of Orpheus and his doomed love, and his song to the God of the Dead, we tend to think of our muse as a love interest, an unrequited love interest; that inspires us to creative leaps of imagination. The ancient Hellenic term ‘muse’ is with us more than we know. It is the root word for the English ‘music’ and ‘museum’ [muse-house]. I suppose if I could design my own muse, she would, well, be a she, and look almost precisely like Della. Let us just say that Della had long black curly hair and you’d like her, whatever you’re ostensibly into.
The important thing about a muse though, is that your interaction with them is incomplete. Perhaps you only get to speak to your brother once a month, but would really like to more often. When you do get to have that talk, and it gets interrupted when his toddler starts finger painting with beef gravy, there, you have a start; perhaps of a chapter, perhaps an essay.
The beautiful muse though, that’s what we want, as repressed writers, liberating ourselves at the keyboard, a fantasy companion out of physical or social reach but near to you in your mind’s eye…
Alas, this is not to be for me, certainly not where my non-fiction is concerned. My muse thankfully does not know he is my muse, and, more importantly, since he can kick my ass, doesn’t know that he’s not the only one. He’s bigger than me, smarter than me, and believes in a lot of things that I just study. I count myself lucky when we have a discussion, and, when it begins teetering towards a debate, I always step back. I finish our discussion here, at this keyboard.
I have seven muses, people who inspire me to write based on conversations we have and things they say. I am certainly not a writer of much renown, and I don’t think of any exceptional flare. I suppose my strength is being prolific, and the credit for that belongs largely to my muses, even the big ugly one. So, whatever your genre, whatever your strength as a writer, take the time to recognize your muses. There is probably more than one. If she’s cute let her know. If he’s a big opinionated dude that can kick your ass, don’t clue him in that your best articles were born of your unfinished discussions.
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