Monday, March 19, 2012

Let's Talk...About Muses

I have two or so emails to respond to, an algebra test tomorrow that I am totally not ready for, a tournament in April with speeches I haven't memorized. But my mind was like, "I want to write a blog post!"

Okay, technically that wasn't my mind. That was my creative Muse, Elanor. Usually she's the one telling me to get to work on my school. Or the laundry. Or something. But today, I guess she wanted a little enjoyment.

I'm the person who suddenly, in the middle of a conversation, starts slapping their head and saying, "No no! Ian! Katie! Ello! SHUT UP!" Usually that means that's my muse telling me that one of my characters would like me to write a story.

Okay, now my muse is insisting I stop calling her "my muse" and call her Elanor. Like she is in control or something. Which...I guess she is.

Now I know what the majority of you are thinking. What any sane person would think. "WHAT THE HECK IS A MUSE?!" I'll explain. Muse. Defined as "An annoying voice in your mind that tells you to do something (usually something creative) day and night and nags you until you do it."

Back in Greek Mythology, there were the Nine Muses. They were a bunch of beautiful girls, the daughters of Zeus and Memory, who sang, danced, played lyres, pipes, so on and so forth, and basically did anything creative. Apollo, god of music, saw all these girls and went, "Hey! I can get a choir out of this!" So he trained them to sing the songs of heroes while he played the lyre, and the Nine Muses soon became famous for their music.

I could go into what each of the muses was for, but that would take a while. Suffice to say, they were special. Mess thou not with them. 

Eventually, Greek mythology became...well...mythology. Christianity spread through the world, and suddenly no one seemed to have any use for such gods as Apollo or Zeus. But even though their old teacher was out of a job, were the Muses? Pfft. They came back bigger and better without him! Victorian/Empire/Any Era writers often wrote sonnets wherein they begged one of the Muses to help them. And, from all the Christian poetry I read in class that's hailed as significant, it sounds like the Muses did their best. 

But now we come to modern day. Christianity is still wide spread, but does anyone call on the Nine Muses anymore? Sadly, no. But are the Muses gone? Again, I say...sadly, no. 

Meet Elanor. She's the first character I ever wrote, from the first story I ever wrote. And no, she's never going to leave me. By the way, her nickname is Ello, and I'll probably call her that a lot here. Ello is specifically my Muse. Most writers or artists have them. Most of the time though, it's just the writers who will scream out at 11 PM "WILL YOU SHUT UP YOU STUPID MUSE I'M TRYING TO GET TO BED!" That's the one of the differences between artists and writers. Artists go into severe depression when they lose their muse. Like Vincent Van Gogh, one of my favorite artists.

Writers...well, they never lose their muse. They've usually forcibly detained them. Meaning: bound and gagged and chained in the deepest dungeon our minds can contrive.

Another difference between writers' muses and artists' muses is that the artist usually finds their muse in a real life person. "Find your muse" is a phrase artists often tell other artists. So the young artist goes out, finds a girl, makes her his muse, paints madly for her, is rejected by her, paints sad and angry paintings, and then kills himself. Sorry, it's how it goes sometimes. 

A writer, on the other hand, finds their muse in their head. That voice that never shuts up during school or sleep, nagging you to write, and then goes quiet when you sit down to type. No really, it's how it goes. I will be sitting in class, trying to listen to my algebra teacher, and then Elanor's voice, all British, crisp and cheery, comes on in my head. "Oh Caroline! Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to tell you that I had a beautiful idea for your story! Why not make your favorite character die? I'll stop talking now. Go ahead and listen to your algebra teacher now!" I try to tone her out, because I had great plans for that favorite character. I come home and...well...all my ideas are gone, and hers is the only one left. At which point I go into deep despair.
Alright, well, I've made muses sound horrible up to this point. Quite honestly, they're not all bad. I do really love Ello, as she often is the only one telling me to actually do my schoolwork or clean my room, or something productive. And honestly, you need a muse to survive in writing. Because they look over your work with you and say, "Seal, this is...good, but it could be better. Kill two more characters." Without them, writers wouldn't get anywhere.

But one last thing. I said before that artists tell each other, "Find your muse..."

Writers don't do that.

Writers say, "Find your muse....AND RUN BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"

Because we know...that once you find your muse...

You can never be sane again. 


  1. Tee hee hee I think it's amusing when you start slapping yourself in the head. xD All us writers get those characters who won't. shut. up. Sometimes it's too much to handle and you just gotta scream, "Ok, ok, I know you want me to write your scene but I just. don't. have. TIME!!!!" :P

  2. Oh, so much truth in these words.

    My problem is, it's not just my Muse telling me to do things. It's ALL my characters. And sometimes they clash and tell me to do different things and I'm just bashing my head on my desk going, "WHY???"

    Characters are lovely things aren't they? XD

    No, Airen! That was sarcasm. Will you stop reading over my shoulder! >_>



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