The Muse gets a bad press:
The Muse: Substantial As A Ghost
The Muse is not real. Relying on the Muse is like leaning on a crutch made of playing cards. You are your own Muse. Inspiration comes from within, not from without. Dig deep into that pile of squirming viscera. Reach high into your gray matter. Find the pearl tucked inside your swiftly-beating heart. Stop looking elsewhere for that creative spark. You command it. It doesn’t command you.
Chuck Wendig (being unusually unsweary!)
Now I absolutely agree with the often-made point that sitting around waiting for The Muse just won’t do. You have to write whether you feel like it or not to get anywhere worth asking your readers to visit. It’s no good blaming an ancient deity for not showing up.
I expect Mr Ebert is being purely metaphorical. Nonetheless, I believe in her.
I have caught the words I should write whispered behind my shoulder – so quickly I can scarce get them down and they’re never as good typed-up as I heard.
Sometimes it has been the feel of a kindly hand, a gentle teacher, making my fingers write and I have been surprised at what sentences come forth. The visit of the Muse is a wonder – and often unsettling.
My Muse is a shape-shifter. Mostly I see her as a selkie. A shy, wild, seal of a creature who sings to me from the foam – often when I am outside and not consciously thinking of writing. Like any untamed creature, she must be approached regularly to create trust.
Then she may slip off her skin and reveal herself. We might dance together – but I could never tame her. She has to be free to come and go. There can be no censoring of her feral songs.
Wherever you are on the muse as metaphor – spiritual being continuum, and my position slip-slides daily, I wish you many visits from Inspiration and all her cousins. May all your stories come alive!
Here’s to an inspired 2016…