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Saturday, July 24, 2010

You! Over There! Amuse Me!

People have asked me how I can find something to write about every day.

Sometimes, I wonder that myself.

And that got me thinking.

Where does inspiration come from?

For me, it’s not the margaritas, the impressive genealogy (including farmers, a postal worker and a high school teacher) or the kissy-lipped face of concentration I’ve been known to adopt while writing.

No, my ideas start outside of myself, spurred by muses. And while “spurred by muses” sounds like something that could be taken care of with some sort of burning soap and a tiny-toothed comb, I’m glad I have them.

The thing that has surprised me most about discovering the concept of the muse is that anyone can be one.

Take T for instance.

T says things that make me think, make me look deeper. The following exchange has stayed with me for years:

Me: I just can’t believe Scott screwed me over like that! After I’ve gone above and beyond for him!

T: You know what the problem with the world is? There aren’t enough people doing stuff for Scott.

That comment inspired a story and helped me drop the attitude I had been working on.

And there are other muses! Take, for example, my friend Diana, who once suggested that I could pass for Canadian.

For some reason, that tickles me.

You can't buy stuff like that.

I think everyone has muses, but I’m not sure everyone sees them. It would be best, of course, if muses were easily identified, if they were required to, say, wear those shoes with the little bells on the toes, or present printed cards, little gold-embossed cards calling them out as licensed and bonded inspirers of creativity.

But maybe we just need to open our eyes to the fact that sometimes muses aren’t readily identifiable.

Sometimes, they look just like the people next to us.

23 comments:

Smart Mouth Broad said...

That's my problem. I've been looking for those little shoes with the bells on the toes. So they're not wearing them any more?

Gigi said...

I need a muse that bashes me over the head and says "HEY! I'm trying to inspire you! Pay attention!"

KaLynn said...

Muses, eh? That's my problem. Most of my muses seem to be dogs. . . Never thought of them as muses before! Thanks for a new concept!

I will look elsewhere for my muses now! There might, maybe, be OTHER muses besides dogs!! =0)

Appu said...

Writing is an Art God's gift to few chosen people.

Sam Liu said...

So true, Pearl, inspiration comes in so many forms...people, life, experience, nature and so many more. The task is finding them, understanding them. I suppose writing is merely another way of trying to make sense of the world and its muses.

Lisa said...

Amen to that. Sometimes I try to ignore my muses. They won't stand for it.

Fred Miller said...

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King takes up the topic of his muse. It's a moody little spirit that sits on his desk and drops nuggets of gold into his mind. He insists that the more you spend time with it, the more it will give you. King said that when he's working hard, the muse is waiting for him at his writing station every day. On the other hand, I will always be a manual laborer, not a writer. My muse comes when I'm planting potatoes or folding laundry. I actually stop everything and write a sentence or two, or even the entire piece, with work sweat streaming off me. Good thing I'm not a neurosurgeon hoping to be a writer.

TheFredEffect

powdergirl said...

Hi Pearly Whirly Girl,
Pass for Canadian? I'll go one further, you could pass for a Friendly Manitoban.

And hey, can I be one of your muses? I have an anklet that I wear all summer (except when I'm in stealth mode) that has tiny little tinkling bells on it, so you'd totally hear me coming and that would be handy, right? AND I make a pretty nice margarita too.

K A B L O O E Y said...

I definitely agree that one has to stay aware of the bizarre and wonderful around us to find gems. Your post made me think of the fascinating blog that my blog-buddy Sandy writes: http://stranglingmymuse.wordpress.com/
It's well worth reading for anyone who struggles with issues of finding time and/or inspiration for creativity.

CatLadyLarew said...

I see muses everywhere.. and they all live in terror of me writing about them! Hmmm... who will my next lucky muse be?

Sarah said...

I wish my inspirations come like yours, but then, readers will probably bored to death as I don't have your talent to translate them.

Douglas said...

If amoral is without morals then I have become amused...

All my muses left because I did so little with what they offered. I fault the muses.

Casey Freeland said...

I'm going to vote for the bells on the toes. It would make the world better, I think.

Casey

Mandy said...

I like Sir Philip Sidney's muse. I picture his muse as a tiny Mr. T, flying above him disapprovingly, saying, "Fool! Look in thy heart and write."

Barbara Blundell said...

Wondered where i was going wrong. I have been neglecting the MUSES So have done a little research hoping to evoke one or two for inspiration. Euterpe sounds rather nice (flute playing and lyric poetry ) or perhaps I'll appeal to Terpsichore for a measure of choral dancing and song.
Watch out !Tralaa- tralaa )

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

You clearly pay attention and listen with your inner ear. And you ride the bus, which reminds you daily of how funny or touching or touched we humans can be.

a Broad said...

YOU are definitely one of mine.
The dog is one also ... in case you get all flattered or something.
But I definitely get more of a kick out of what you say than , well ... he is kinda short of words.
The world does need muses . .. muse muse muse .. say it 3 times and you get that kissy faced look you spoke of :)

Simply Suthern said...

I think I used to much Musinex. I ran out of ideas.

Argent said...

There are muses everywhere, I think, but you have to be open to what they're offering. Merely allowing yourself the possibility that there is something there for you is a start.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! I can't identify the muse, nor do I look for it. There's no point; it comes when I'm ready. And I am grateful. Indigo x

Kal said...

My muses number in the hundreds and fight for the two minutes attention they get from me so I can do a post or comment on an image. It's about as long as I can keep a single idea in my head.

Willoughby said...

Most of my muses live with me (my husband and kids), but the inspiration they give me falls under the "you had to be there" category most of the time. Sad, but true.

Strangling My Muse said...

Great post, Pearl! I wish my muse had bells on his toes. I wrote about my hot, verbally abusive male muse on my blog: My Muse Strangles Me.

I love hearing about other peoples' muses -- and I think it's wonderful that you find muses all around you!

~Sandy Ackers