Saturday, July 18, 2009


Oh, yay, for summer days. I went on a thirty mile bike ride today, and I am full of amazing snapshots: the little tiny white dog that was sure it could take on a bike, the woman riding her bike with her parrot, and the man who said he knew the secret formula for time travel. I'm always collecting images -- the time travel thing, that's a whole novel.

My friend Katherine Bond has been chatting with me about her need to feed her muse. This is the kind of muse that is the source of an artist's inspiration. I'm going toss out some quotes here because back in the day everyone was into their muse.

Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno:
O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!
(Anthony Esolen translation, 2002)

John Milton, opening of Book 1 of Paradise Lost:
Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse, [...]

William Shakespeare, Act 1, Prologue of Henry V:
Chorus: O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

Yep, having a muse is something to think about.

My inspiration comes from several things. I like to do something sort of crazy beyond my skill set and experience. My 30+ miles bike ride was just that sort of thing. I've walked on erupting volcanos, jumped out of third story windows (there was a net!), and learned how to throw a set of dishes on a pottery wheel. This sort of buzzing activity jazzes my creative self.

Another big infuser of muse power into my universe is to chat. Oh, how I love a good conversation. I live to hear others tell me their story. I also love a good book or a fine movie -- not as good as a conversation, but pretty good. Yes, surprising really, I'm a writer, but I love a good conversation more.

Yet another muse connection is to play certain kinds of thinking games. I do not know how to explain this but it is true. I especially like Scrabble, Boggle, Settlers of Catan, Backgammon, and Risk. A good game will make me want to stay up all night writing. I'm not sure what games are firing up in my brain, but they are.

I have other muses, but hey, folks, I've got to sleep sometimes.

I talked about a tangential subject to MUSES in a blog entry back in March, Pure Genius. Please check it out if you need more inspiration.

I hope that you take some time this week and follow your muses. See where they take you.

My doodle for the week is "Up in the Sky".

Today's playlist hit is musical madness: "Lonesome Polecat" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Singing and dancing!

Health is the first muse, and sleep is the condition to produce it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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