A Minute With The Muse
Prayer To The Muse
Give the act to me.
Purged of hope and ego,
Fix your attention on the soul.
Act and do for me.”
Excerpt From: Steven Pressfield & Shawn Coyne. “The War of Art.” Visionary Press, 2012.
The Muse and I were sitting around the other day chatting, as we do. She with an air of gin, tonic and attitude; and me, always in awe of her beauty and general badassery.
I was questioning her about all aspects of the writing process, publishing in particular, of which she is extremely knowledgeable.
She is the Muse, after all.
As the conversation zig and zagged over the various ways to get published, she shook her head. “There’s no excuse these days, for an author not to get their work out in the world to be read.”
“So all of us, the writers of the world, together with our Muses, we just write what we love, and send it, like our precious baby, out into the world? I asked “What intention should we give it as we send it on its way? To touch people? To help people? To make money? To be a best seller?”
I couldn’t tell by the way she slowly turned to face me, with a kind of half smirk, whether her answer was going to be kind, or I was gonna get a smack down.
She started to laugh.
The Muse has a laugh like the throaty purr of a Maserati. Deep and sexy.
The result of age, too many late nights, strong drinks and cigarettes.
“I only write best sellers, my darling” she purred with her usual lack of humility.
“That’s all I’m capable of. I only paint masterpieces. I only write musical compositions that bring grown men to tears. It’s all I know how to do.”
Now I was shaking my head, but she continued.
“As the Muse, I am Divine Inspiration at the highest level, sending my masterpiece through you, the vessel.”
Now I was leaning in; listening intently, she could sense my interest, so she took a long drag on her cigarette to keep me in suspense.
“I’m incapable of writing a boring book or a piece of shit movie.” She threw her head back, smoke billowing from her nostrils.
“That’s YOUR contribution.” She was laughing again.
“The clearer the vessel, the clearer the translation of my work. If you start to question it, or edit it, or doubt it, well, darling, you’re being an idiot.”
“If you can’t recognize a masterpiece when you see it or read it, or you somehow think you can do it better,” she shifted in her chair, “you’ll compromise the material.
It will become mediocre….or suck altogether.”
That was a big AhHa for me.
What she was saying was this: that no matter what your talent is, no matter what ideas you have, we are ALL capable of greatness; it’s wholly dependent on the clarity of our connection to the Muse. No one is more talented, they are just better connected.
Steve Jobs, I’m going to venture to guess, kept his nose out of her business.
He just let it flow.
I get it. I get it!
“Our relationship is very complicated, my darling. Everyday I’m taking a chance that you will trust me enough to write my words the way I say them or paint my vision, using the colors I choose. I hear your prayer and I get ready to work. All you have to do is trust and stay clear of fear, doubt, and judgement.”
“Oh is THAT all.” I replied, sarcastically.
“My job as the Muse is to pick the correct vessel.”
She got to her feet for emphasis, turned and winked.
“It is how all the great works of humanity; of architecture, and the arts have been created. I believe it to be a good system.”
So do I.
I’d be an idiot to disagree with the Muse.