When you hear or see the word “muse,” you might think of the 9 Greek goddesses who supposedly gave inspiration for creations.
They (and their associations) were as follows:
- Clio (history, guitar)
- Euterpe (several musical instruments, courses, dialectic)
- Thalia (comedy, geometry, architectural science, agriculture)
- Melpomene (tragedy, rhetoric speech, Melos [melody])
- Terpischore (dance, harp, education)
- Erato (love, love poetry, wedding)
- Polymnia (divine hymns, mimic art, geometry, grammar)
- Ourania (astronomy)
- Calliope (Superior Muse – justice, serenity, heroic poems, rhetoric art)
Calliope was supposedly called upon by Homer as he wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Webster’s Dictionary describes the word “muse” as (among several other things) “a source of inspiration; esp: a guiding genius.” This is a bit more straightforward than the studying of the Greek muses, whose responsibilities were somewhat… broad.
Do you have any muses?
For me, the requirement of a muse, besides its ability to inspire me to write and write well, is that it not be distracting. I suppose some might argue that that would be necessary to the inspiration piece, but I could argue that I have a number of inspirations that are JUST SO GOOD that they distract me from my writing. While helpful to inspiration, that isn’t necessarily helpful to the main goal: getting some writing done.
My muses also tend to be related to things I can do while writing, because that concurrent inspiration can keep me going better than anything else. But there are a couple of books that I find inspirational; once I finish them, I must sit down and write. White Oleander and Jane Eyre and The Fault in Our Stars and To Kill a Mockingbird are some of the best ones, and consequently some of my favorite books as well.
My other, more immediately useful muses are the bands FourPlay, The Fray, She & Him, and The Piano Guys; the artists Jeff Victor, Jon McLaughlin, Tracy Chapman, and Eric Clapton; and the movies Pitch Perfect, Tin Man, Thirteen, Star Wars (eps IV-VI) (shush!), and Save the Last Dance.
So what are your muses? I’d love to hear about them!