There has been an ongoing discussion in a forum that I follow about a writer’s relationship with their muse. Apparently, that relationship can be somewhat contentious at times. One writer described her muse-ical vision of ‘blissful harmony and a beneficial symbiosis’ as hopelessly idealistic, instead describing it as an ‘uneasy truce in a war of give and take’.
I sat on the sidelines for that conversation. I didn’t feel qualified to add anything to the discussion. I finally felt compelled to make a confession.
I did not have a muse.
In truth, as I read their comments, I found myself thinking, maybe I am the lucky one. If people are having that much trouble with them; I’ll pass.
But still, I wondered. What would it be like to have a muse?
I have tried to imagine my ideal muse. Would she be a willowy alabaster goddess with an off-the-shoulder toga? A Dwayne Johnson lookalike getting in my face and reminding me that the fate of the world depends on me meeting my deadline? Or maybe just a Golden Retriever who greets me with a big grin and a wagging tail, sending dust motes swirling through the morning sunbeams and then settling at my feet with a contented sigh as I take my place at the keyboard.
Why do I need a muse? I mean, I can usually come up with a short story idea before the weekend is over. So I decided to Google it. I asked the oracle, “Why do I need a muse?”
And there it was. In 0.46 seconds, I had the answer. Well, over 198,000,000 answers, as it turns out. But the very first response was: “5 Reasons Why You Need a Muse”. I found out I can shed the awful burden of responsibility for creative efforts by just handing it over to my muse. No worries, musee will think of something. According to the title, there were four more reasons but I stopped reading after the first reason. It was good enough for me. But it didn’t tell me HOW to find a muse. More on that in a minute.
First I want to share a few of the other articles on the front page of the search results. These were just the titles:
“Obsession, Danger, and No Sex: Why every woman needs a muse…”
“Why Men Love a Muse”
“The Danger of Being a Muse”
“How to be a Muse: Twelve Steps (with pictures)”
Clearly there is a lot more to this muse-ing thing than I realized. So I have decided I need one.
I could have entered another G-search to get the collective wisdom of the net on how to find my own muse, but I decided instead to ask a friend. John is one of the most creative writers I know. He can create a mood with just a line or two and his stories always captivate me. I asked him how I could find my muse. This, in part, is what he told me:
“Sometimes they find you. Sometimes you find them. They exist in the quiet spaces between, the ignored places. They lurk in the streets – a half-glimpsed figure who smiles at you then hurries away. You can charm them with flattery, snare them in traps, beg them to come…”
And somehow, that sounds right. I will continue to do what I do, but will listen to the whisper of the trees, the smile from the stranger, the taste of chocolate on my tongue…
Yes, chocolate. Specifically, dark chocolate, with almonds.
I have realized through this journey that chocolate is my substitute muse. So until the real thing comes along, don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright.
OMP Admin Note: Thomas Walborn is a writer, photographer, and an OMP Network member. His work can be found on wattpad.com/ThomasWalborn. His short story, “A Good Life” can be found in the One Million Project’s Fiction Anthology published in February 2018.
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