The Muse: Writer’s Friend or Mythological Creature?

Muses: The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry and literature, are the goddesses of the inspiration, supposedly responsible for all the great accomplishments in literature, science and the arts. They were the source of knowledge that is contained in stories, art, and lyrics.

We writers invoke the Muses when we write, and this typically occurs at the beginning of a story. We cry for inspiration sometimes, but other times we simply open our hearts and our minds and invite them to come whenever they feel like doing so. Sadly, desperate pleas have the same result. The Muse only arrives when she is good and ready.

I find myself at a stand-still with my fiction. I am not blocked. There are ideas coming out every orifice in my body (it’s not pretty), but I just can’t sit down and WRITE.

So I set out in search of the mythological Muse. My goal is to first confirm such a creature exists, and if it does, to capture it and take it home with me, where I will force it to dance to my literary song. Oh, that was poetic, right?

So anyway, as I began my journey, I first had to encounter THE OUTSIDE.


The Outside

Is this the Muse? I wondered. Its great fangs and dark, fathomless stare said no, but I had to be certain. “Outside,” I said. “Are you my muse?” It laughed maniacally before scooping me up in its cold, bug-filled claws. “I can help you find your Muse, if you have a bit of time.” So we went, me and THE OUTSIDE, and journeyed far and wide. But THE OUTSIDE did not find my Muse. It wanted to terrorize me with people and conversation and stores and errands, and I think it wanted to devour my soul. So I told THE OUTSIDE that I had shit to do, and it found another hapless writer to torture.

I left THE OUTSIDE and soon encountered THE TELEVISION, also known as THE NETFLIX and THE MOVIES.


The TV

THE TELEVISION is a master of disguise. You have only to look into its great, shiny face and stories just happen. Characters appear fully-formed. The color, the sound, the action! Such versatility must involve creativity, so I asked THE TELEVISION if it was my Muse. “Of course,” it grinned. “Just give me your time and your mind and inspiration is yours.”

THE TELEVISION looked kind and fun, so I went with it into a thick, dense fog. Hours later I emerged, tired, hungry and slightly less intelligent than when I went in. “TELEVISION,” I said. “You’ve taken all the time I had today, but you haven’t inspired me to write a single word.” It winked, “I haven’t? Well, I guess you’ll be wanting these brain cells back. Sorry, no returns.”

So I left THE TELEVISION and walked home.

Inside my house I found THE TWITTER. Oh, the TWITTER is cute at first. “Come fly through cyberspace with me!” It called. But once I joined it, I found its other prisoners—erm, tweeps, and THE TWITTER showed its true form.


The Twitter

I tried to look away, but I could not. THE TWITTER is full of powerful magic. Once it has you in its claws, it pecks and pecks at your subconscious so that walking away is an exercise in sheer willpower. “Twitter,” I said. You are not my muse. You have lied to me.” It tossed a hashtag at me and laughed. “#Getoverit” said the hashtag. I wished for a gun or a knife, or a really big shoe with which to squash THE TWITTER. Sadly, I had none of these things. But THE TWITTER suddenly smiled and took my hand. “Here,” it said. “Perhaps my bastard brother, THE FACEBOOK might be your muse. He definitely knows its name. THE FACEBOOK knows everyone.” As THE TWITTER passed me off to a cool looking fellow without any facial features, I thought I saw cash change hands. But I may have been mistaken.



THE FACEBOOK sauntered away and I followed, because what else did I have to do? I had to find my Muse. “Facebook,” I said. “I really need to find my Muse. Are you it?” Facebook continued walking, cool cat that it was, and shook its head. “No, man, but I’m sure it’s here somewhere. Care to try some candy? How about a bubble? Have you ever wanted to run your own farm? It’s all possible here.”

So I got lost in candy and farms, and hours later I emerged. “Listen fucker,” I said. “I don’t have time for your shit.” THE FACEBOOK tsked and snapped its fingers. I found myself alone in my garage/office. THE FACEBOOK suspended my account, so now I was locked out of the coolness that was not my Muse.

I tried not to feel discouraged. Every artist has a Muse, right? It’s the rule. But what if I wasn’t a real writer? What if I didn’t get a muse because I’ve fooled myself this whole time? I searched near and far, high and low, until I encountered THE BOOK.


The book

My heart soared. I knew THE BOOK. I loved THE BOOK. We shared many a laugh and a few tears in our long relationship. Perhaps THE BOOK was my muse.

“No way, sister,” It said. “I’m just a good friend to get you through the day. I’m not what you’re looking for.”

Damn it. Where was my muse?

I sat down before my computer. The blinking black line mocked me on the white screen. “Write me. Write me. Write me,” it taunted.  I would, you son of a bitch, if my brain would just pick a damn plot and go with it. So there we sat; me and the blinking black line. Silent. Desperate. Alone. We just stared.

But then something strange happened. My fingers moved and letters appeared. Slowly those letters formed words and then sentences. In no time I had a page and then four, and then ten pages of story showed up almost magically.

Was this my muse? This screen? That mocking cursor? What?!

“You never lost it, fucktard.” A voice in my head scolded. “The Muse waits for you to just sit your ass down and write.”

Oh. Who knew it was so simple?

2 thoughts on “The Muse: Writer’s Friend or Mythological Creature?

  1. I LOVE THIS !!!

    I think THE OUTSIDE came to me after you chased it away. It’s been stalking me for years, and now it found a weak spot…

    But yes, it’s really as simple as sitting the fuck down and starting to write anything. That’s the only muse that works for me too. And also books, because whenever I start to read a book that’s down my alley, my mind tries to change the story inside to fit MY vision, and I get frustrated and need to start writing again. Not a healthy reader habit, but fuck it. I’m one of those freaks who didn’t come to writing because they loved books, but because they needed to exorcise their alternate personalities in written form, preferably in an aesthetic way.

    Anyway… I’m glad you found your muse again. I’ve also picked up my loooooooooooong-wiiiiiiiiiiinded revision again, and I’m making progress (again). So WEEEEEE to planting our asses into those damn chairs and letting our fingers dance!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my animated “show.” I giggled the whole time I struggled in “Paint” to create those atrocities. 😉

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