The Muse.

I have recently began wondering about the term ‘muse’ and the frequency with which it is used in reference to writers.

I’ve never had one.

I don’t think.

Which has also caused me to wonder why that may be the case and how I might go about changing it.

So I did some research and I discovered that the term ‘muse’  comes from the ancient Greek  αἱ μοῦσαι (hai moũsa,) derived from ‘men- think.’

Now, I’ve always had a theory that muses were just for men.

Exhibit A:

In Greek mythology, poetry, and literature ‘the muses’ are the goddesses (or spirits) who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of knowledge. I think in modern terms we refer to ‘The muse’ as the source of inspiration. But are they just for blokes?

I’ve often felt like my writing has suffered in times when I’ve felt a lack or loss of connection with someone special, usually someone I’m sleeping with. True to form, devoid of muse– the motor won’t start; the dog lies down; and the sun ceases to set.

Though you hear very little of women, throughout history, and their muses.

Further research has lead me to believe that ‘the muse’ is merely some sort of vice for pornography and sex.

See exhibit b:

Three creative birds, sitting under a tree. Hardly rich fodder for a heterosexual female.

So why don’t we have them? Women, that is. Why must ‘men-think’ and women, I dunno… do all the musing…

The obvious parallel in this story is to Leonard’s many muses. A great lover of women– as most heterosexual blokes are– Leonard sure did like to write about them. Women that is.

A recent phone conversation with my mother somehow lead to the topic of Leonard and His Women– to which my mother mentioned– Leonard had shocking taste in women.

I had to laugh because, well, mum’s never met Leonard or any of his muses, to my knowledge. My dad had. But I’ve already written about that.

This got me thinking about how funny a paradigm it is that we, as a consuming public, feel like we know someone simply because they write.

We don’t.

I’d like to use myself here as an example, if I may.

Most of the songs I have written have been broken-hearted love songs. Pretty standard really. With a few exceptions most of these songs are sad and bereft. Not nearly as funny as I, in person, tend to be. Nor do they capture, really, any of my actual sentiments about love in the Real World. Because true to form, generally, when you’re feeling loved you tend not to write such tripe. You tend to be out and amongst it. You know, rolling around in cherry blossoms, making love in cemeteries, cooking up a storm and painting the town red, etc.

Devoid of muse, however, the writer is left alone with the feelings and the thoughts– to write.

And naturally, they end up writing about the past.

I guess the same way someone who doesn’t write just sits around, staring at the walls, wishing they could bang out a haiku or something to capture the moment.

Maybe they masturbate.

Maybe they phone a friend.

So now that we’ve established that I do not have a muse, and have probably never had one– and that all muses are for blokes anyway– I wonder if I can change this.

I wonder if I could find a muse, write about him, like all the time, and dispel the myth that the Greeks were so happy to perpetuate.

Chicks seldom play flutes under trees these days anyway.

Right?

There’s a man actually… who lives in the apartment building opposite mine. From my kitchen window I can see directly in to his bedroom. He writes a lot. Particulary this Easter long-weekend, he’s been writing furiously all day, every day. Occasionally he stares out his bedroom window and watches me do the dishes. This may be because I often do the dishes nude.

I often wonder what he’s writing and wonder what would happen if I just went round one day, knocked on his door, and asked to exchange notes.

Speaking of which… the day is but young.

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