May 13, 2010

The Muses

In ancient Greek mythology, the Muses were the goddesses that were responsible for the creation of art and literature.

Looking at Wikipedia, there were more muses than I recalled; I remembered that Euterpe was the muse of music/lyrics and Calliope was the muse of epic poetry, but I had admittedly grown pretty rusty on the other ones (surprisingly, Melpomene was the muse of tragedy, as if we need that). Further research reveals that her symbol is the "tragedy mask", so I am guessing she is in the driver's seat on theatrical tragedy and not the more typical life-rending, broken-home-causing human tragedy that we all sample eventually.

Although I am admittedly rusty on the specifics, I refer too (and attempt to invoke) the muses on a semi-regular basis. For instance, when I have a writing project at work, I'll talk about "summoning the muses" to help out. If it's not coming, that's because the muses are not speaking to me, etc. At home, when I try to write, or do some other semi-creative endeavor, I'll mull over ideas and wait for a little help from that spiritual plane as well.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. One day they won't leave me alone and then the next day it's like they've all skipped town and didn't leave a forwarding address. Some things seem to help summon the muses - physical activity (like riding a bike) is good. It unclogs the head and lets the muses flow ideas through the sludge in my skull. These are fair weather girls, however; stress and fatigue, a hectic schedule and too much travel sends them off to parts unknown.

The muses also reinforce their environment, it seems. In stressful times, I find it's harder to summon the gumption to get on a bike or go for a walk. A little creative energy makes it a pleasure to do those things. Similarly, work that lacks creative challenge chases, rather than summons, the muses. Just when you need to be rescued, they high-tail it out of there.


I guess that like one other deity that I can think of, the muses help those that help themselves. Tomorrow I ride...

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