The Muse has been tapping me on the shoulder now for some time.
She has been whispering soulfully, stirring something in my heart of hearts. She is the virginal seductress. And her pleasure will only be satisfied when I stop, listen and embrace her tenderly and completely. Her pleasure and mine is the communion that has been seeking me for many years, or even decades now.
She whispered to me:
“There is a book in you that only you can write. Your words, your expression, your insightfulness come through you and only you. Speaking your truth from every fiber of your being can ignite many hearts. Take up your pen now my sweet.”
It could take six months or a year to write it; I cannot leave my responsibilities and go to a cabin and live like a hermit and write. I lament.
“If I ever saw my muse she would be an old woman with a tight bun and spectacles poking me in the middle of the back and growling, “Wake up and write the book!” ~ Kerry Greenwood
I busy myself again. I ignore her. There are others to care for, others that need me. There are mundane things that need attending to today and tomorrow. Then in my mind I see an ocean stretched out in front of me, endless chores bobbing up and down in it, and no clear route to sail through. I feel blocked, held, thwarted. I feel joylessness. I am drowning.
She beckons again. No busyness satisfies me any longer.
I cannot escape the hunger that needs to be fed, the expression that needs to spill forth and land, releasing me of the imprisoned “one day I will get to it” mantra.
That day has come. I sit at my desk restlessly. I grab paper and begin.
I write and write. I underline. I scribble out. I chew the end of my pen. I pace backward and forward. I write some more.
The next day I do it again.
“This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.
“Who am I to write this book” arises numerous times. It has risen before and it will arises again—I acknowledge it and keep writing.
I understand now that I am not writing a book. A book is being written through me. I just allow it, and then scribbling arrives on the paper. I keep showing up. I am not in a cabin. Day in and day out I show up.
She chants: “Keep going. Don’t give up.”
The Muse does not want worldly fame. The Muse seeks outlet. She seeks us to dance with her, to twirl and dip with her. To birth fully our self-expression with abandonment, joy and love. Finding intimacy, conceiving and gestating it to its matured state; feeling the stages of exhaustion, frustration and elation along the way. Reveling in the journey as much as the destination.
I am slightly distracted again. I have not written for days.
She calls to me again: “No Muse is good Muse.”
“To be an Artist you need talent, as well as a wife
who washes the socks and the children,
and returns phone calls and library books and types.
In other words, the reason there are so many more
Men Geniuses than Women Geniuses is not Genius.
It is because Hemingway never joined the P.T.A.
And Arthur Rubinstein ignored Halloween.
Do you think Portnoy’s creator sits through children’s theater
Or that Norman Mailer faced ‘driver’s ed’ failure,
chicken pox or chipped teeth?
Fitzgerald’s night was so tender because the fender
his teen-ager dented happened when Papa was at a story conference.
Since Picasso does the painting, Mrs. Picasso did the toilet training.
And if Saul Bellow, National Book Award winner, invited thirty-three
for Thanksgiving Day dinner, I’ll bet he had help.
I’m sure Henry Moore was never a Cub Scout leader,
and Leonard Bernstein never instructed a tricycler
On becoming a bicycler just before he conducted.
Tell me again my anatomy is not necessarily my destiny,
tell me my hang-up is a personal and not a universal quandary,
and I’ll tell you no muse is a good muse
unless she also helps with the laundry.”
~ Rochelle Distelheim
I finish folding the clothes. I wipe over the table. I feed the cat. I sit down at the kitchen bench and I write some more.
Tomorrow, I will walk to the river. I will take out my book and write some more. I write where I can and when I can. I keep listening to the Muse.
Each of us has our Muse calling us. She may be reminding you that there is a book that only you can write or a piece of art that only you can bring color and life to. A song, poem or dance that’s time has come. Or a garden that needs to be created with your love and tender care to full lusciousness. A cause worth supporting that touches your heart deeply. A gathering of people that can be bought together with your willingness and heartfelt connection.
There will always be distraction. Do not wait for one day. Make today your “one day” and listen to the Muse.
She is calling you.
“Wake up and write the f*cking book!”
How to Be Your Own Muse.
Author: Lulu Trevena
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Original artwork by author.
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