Art, writing, and other musings . . . that’s my bi-line.
When this blog began there was the art, though the writing was always there, hidden from public view. Then came the novel, my biggest and most cherished writing project so far . . . in many ways as satisfying as the art, a pleasure that at one time thought not possible.
For months now, this blog has been skewed towards the promotion on the novel, interspersed with a little about art, and woefully lacking in the musing.
Fascinating and Elusive . . .
What is musing? What is a muse, and is what the right term, given that the muse may be something completely non-physical? It’s a fascinating subject, though it’s one that I’m only now more formally investigating, but not in the sense of a yearning for new knowledge. You see I’ve been close to my muse for a long time, so my knowing is already there, in very personal way. It’s such an intimate experience – a presence at times – and one that is cherished beyond words, but still one tries.
Beyond words . . . perhaps this is why for so long it seemed impossible to use words to find that same satisfaction as in creating art. This I now understand. Someone wrote a really nice blog today about the writer finding that inner voice, and what happens when one writes without it . . . when it becomes superficial. Quite simply, without that muse my inner voice seems weaker, with a sense of loss, and to the point where creating not from the heart becomes a risk.
Searching The Invisible For Common Grounds
It didn’t take long at all – only a few days of research on how history views the muse – to discover how so many others have had similar musing experiences in their creativity. That’s somehow reassuring . . . so many legendary artists and writers, their influences, their loves and relationships, their passions, eccentricities, lusts, questions, controversies, triumphs and heart breaks, and through it all, this mystery of the musing.
Much of the material is about one individual impacting the other – the inspiring returned by the affection – the dynamics between the two. Sometimes the issue goes well beyond the individual, into the realm of the spiritual, perhaps the divine? Questions arise as to where do original ideas come from? Are they really from the muse, or the writer or the artist, or from somewhere unknown? Perhaps unknown, yet truly felt . . . the fuel of genius . . . the gift received, and then the gift created, followed by the need for more. It seems this is the way of musing, always mysterious.
Same Journey, New Curves Along the Path
In the next part of my journey I’m about to write in a different way. I have begun a relationship with a large web site devoted to the issue of what it means to be a good man in today’s world. It features an incredible amount of amazing contributors, and so I am honored, humbled and excited. This kind of writing presents an entirely different challenge than writing a novel or writing here on my blog. Both of those are more personal, kind of like writing for an audience of one, which helps immensely in trying to write from the heart.
In this next project that kind of writing must continue, but differently. If you haven’t noticed, my blog is often kind of like thinking out loud, which helps me to focus on one thing or another. Every now and then it seems to resonate with others, which is really nice. Lately I haven’t done enough of that, not enough writing that will somehow help others . . . you.
That kind of helping seems imperative in writing for this men’s project, and I’ll start by gleaming through this musing material. I’m sure this can help cut through some of the confusion and anguish that seems to be there for so many men. Of course, it’s not just there for the men, but for everyone . . . the same but different. Contributors are encouraged to write in the first person, to tell personal accounts of this and that. I will do so, gently though, and as much as possible with a touch of humour, the non-offensive kind. I don’t always succeed at the ‘non’ part, so I’m asking this of you, “Wish me luck – the good kind!”
I’ve actually written a first draft of an article. I wrote it awhile ago, but have decided to sit on it. It’s actually pretty funny – yes and no – it has to do with the use of certain toys in long distance relationships. It’s a good article, but not the one I want to lead in with, so perhaps closer to Valentine’s? It certainly doesn’t fit in well with the subject of muses . . . no pun intended. Also, I’d like to write articles that are in a way congruent with Dawn at Last, which is oozing with secrets and mystery and well, you know . . . muses!
So much that is written on this topic is related to gifted artists and creative people. I believe that is unfairly so, that anyone can have a kind of muse-gift in any close relationship. I need to believe this as much as I need to believe that love is the most important aspect of the universe. Illustrating this through my new writing project will be a challenge, which is perhaps just the motivation I need. You will see what I mean when these articles are published, and I’ll be sure to mention them here, on my blog, as soon as that happens.
To give you a feel for what I mean – the gift of the muse in everyday life – here is an excerpt from Dawn at Last. Based on comments from the book’s fans, it is certainly one of the favorite segments of the novel. This is about Pierre, the owner of a French restaurant called Papillons, telling Sunni (a waitress) about the inspiration and origin of the name:
“Okay Sunni . . . the house of butterflies. It’s my home, you see. How can I tell you this? When I was a youngster I had my chores to do, and they varied depending on the time of year. This one summer day it was getting close to supper time and I had to prepare a bunch of vegetables for stew. I had to go to the kitchen sink to get some water and our kitchen window overlooked the yard between the house and the crops. There were little flower beds around the yard. While I was running the water I looked outside and there they were.”
He pauses, and looks as if he’s lost in a dream, though she’s sure it’s a memory, and once again in her impatience she asks, “What did you see, papillons?”
Her words breaks his trance, and he smiles as he looks at her and says, “Yes, that and more. My mother was out there on the right side of yard, tending to some flowers. She was bent over. She was wearing those favourite blue jean shorts of hers and a colourful blouse, an old one she wore mostly for chores. Then I saw my father on the left side, about fifty meters away. He was repairing some kind of tool or something. It was a hot day, so he paused to wipe off his sweat. As he stood up he looked at my mother. At that point she hadn’t noticed him looking. He started to walk quietly toward her, as if to sneak up on her. About half way there she must have heard him, or perhaps it was les papillons floating around her, five of them. I think it was five − they were hard to count.
When my father noticed that my mother had spotted him sneaking up, he started walking a little faster. Then she stood right up and turned to face him, at the same time looking around the yard. She started walking away, slowly at first, not toward him, but toward the house, and smiling. He began to run a little and so did she, giggling now, and it was bit like a touch football game as she zigged and zagged a bit, and then my father slipped on the grass and fell down to the ground. I was startled. It really looked like he was hurt, but he it turned out he was faking an injury to get her to come and help him, and when she did, he pulled her down and they kissed, and for a long time. Then they got up and walked away, hand in hand, somewhere towards the side of the house, where there are lots of trees.”
Then he pauses, and looks closer at Sunni. “And then then these butterflies – when my mother was running they seemed to follow her – like they were playing their own game. They even seemed to follow them to the trees, until I lost sight of them as well. It was really something. In those moments it was all about love, don’t you think? Only playful love and affection. And it seems that’s all the butterflies know − and that’s what I try to do with my restaurant. It’s a safe place for people like you and Andrea and the other young ladies, at least I want it to be, and maybe sometimes love comes out of it, somehow. Is that so wrong?”
The Perfect Gift, If Only For Awhile
One of my favourite aspects about this excerpt is how the couple interact so playfully and with no need for words – in a way they inspire each other – and so this is too is the play of the muse? I hope this gives you a bit of a flavour for the direction I’ll be taking in the project. If I succeed then I will make some people happier, if only for awhile, and hopefully a long while. Maybe some in their busy lives need a reminder, need to stop and look at the love that is still there, but possibly dormant in all the stress and confusion? I plan to provide many reminders – a series on this issue of the muse and musing – of awareness, the selfless kind.
It would be nice to help like that, in some small way . . . it does feel good when it happens, and shouldn’t it? There are those who says that such kindness is somehow self-indulgent and that giving gifts like this is really a selfish act because one gets pleasure in the process. I disagree. If you want to see it as being selfish, go ahead. All I know is that it is perfectly acceptable . . . perhaps the only true definition of perfection. How do I know? Why do I believe this so strongly? The simple is answer - I can sense that the muse approves and I need no more than that.
Thank you for getting to the bottom of such a long post . . . you must be well-grounded by now! As such you deserve a treat, so what could be more fitting than a little music? Enjoy . . .