To be truthful, for years I didn’t have a clue what it meant to have a Muse. It was reading fiction, of course, where I was introduced to the Muse trope. Yes, it’s become such a commonplace idea it’s a literary crutch. For most people, the urbanity of the Muse story gets stuck in the utility of our lives. Do we need a Muse to create art or someone to clean the house while we make it? I only mention this as my partner alleges our cat is my muse. At eight months, I think he’s a painful teenager cat who doesn’t listen to anyone and has the attention span of…well, he has no attention to speak of. Still, there is something there and like a good engineer, I had to disassemble it to examine it from all sides.
What is a Muse? According to Wikipedia:
“The Muses are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology.”
If that’s a Muse, I’ll count my cat out, but should I? I mean, he is funny. He does make me smile even when I’m having a challenging day. And even though he hasn’t directly influenced my writing, I have drawn on my knowledge of dogs, from a long-deceased Labrador I loved and wrote her as a service dog in two of my books. Does that mean my cat Peter Parker is not a Muse, but my dog Dax was/is? What about things? Could a thing be a Muse?
Before I began writing fiction I wrote non-fiction, manuals and corporate guides, all to pay the rent while I was furloughed from my real job as a Line Pilot. That’s right. I flew commercial aircraft and I was good but that couldn’t keep Canadian Airlines in the black and when they fell, hundreds of airlines employees including the pilots were left waiting for the unions to sort our seniority and shuffle us into the Air Canada lineup. It was hard. Flying, I would have said then was the thing I lived for. It made me feel alive. I was in my element from the moment I began my walkaround until we parked our bird at the end of the day. I can’t decide if it was the flying that delivered so much inspiration or the aircraft I flew.
Maybe the aircraft was the Muse. The flying, the joy I found at the controls and in the air, any air, lived deep inside me. Sometimes, when I write, I feel that same spring opening, letting the words just flow. No, I realise that’s not the work of a Muse. I can’t even credit the Creator other than to say thanks for adding this river of hope and joy I found in the pilots’ seat and continue to experience as I hammer on the keyboard.
Maybe the reason I couldn’t understand this whole Muse thing was knowing the thing challenging and motivating me, the thing providing inspiration and countless ideas was already in me. No, my cat is not my Muse, but he makes me smile. My old dog was not my Muse, but I will always think of her with love and fondness. I guess that means I have a Muse, but she lives in me, believes in me, and most of all kicks me in the pants and reminds me every day that I am responsible for my work, my hope, and my creativity. “Thank you, me. As far as inspiration goes, you’re doing a bang-up job. Oh, and tell the Creator the cat helps too😉”
The Muse – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Muse
The Muses are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology. The Muse may also refer to: “The Muse” (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), an episode from the fourth season.