Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Personifying the Muse (or, how the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog revealed my total lack of imagination)
Laura answered this question two weeks ago, and Lydia took her turn last week. Both of their posts were brilliant, and I have no doubt Deb's will be as well.
As for me ... I could have tried to be cute and make something up. But have you read Lydia's post? Trying to be cute after what may have been the cutest post ever ... seemed lame. So instead, you guys will get honesty. (sorry)
A "muse" is a source of inspiration. The Muses were Greek goddesses who inspired creation of literature and art. They were personifications of inspiration, like Deb's talking about. For the past three weeks, I've been thinking about that.
It just doesn't work for me.
So I thought about why.
And here it is: When I was in training, I had a family therapy supervisor who said, "Don't think about one person or the other. Think about what's between them." I spent several co-therapy sessions eying that space between while listening to him work with them. Now that's how I think about things all the time. I'm not really inspired by any one person, nor am I satisfied at the thought of cramming my inspiration into a single imaginary being.
I am inspired by interaction. The space between two people. The possibility. The chaos. One person alone can think and do great things. Two people? Ah. Infinite potential.
The space between two people can produce stories. Or, at least, the kind of stories I want to write. It drives me to build worlds in my head--just to create an atmosphere that supports the interaction between two people. So their voices don't echo or die; so they can hear each other. So they can tear each other apart and stitch each other up. So they can do entirely unpredictable things.
That space crackles with electricity and is awash with poison and passion. It is striped with chasms of misunderstanding and filled with oceans of sacrifice. Every moment, every situation, every word, every bit of interpersonal and individual history makes the terrain more intricate and vast.
There you have it. If I had to personify my muse, it would not be one person. Or two people. It would be the space between them.
So, er, I hope that doesn't seem like a cop out.
How about you? Do you have a muse out there in the world? If not, could you personify the source of your inspiration? And if not--what is the source of your inspiration?