There are some who believe strongly in the muses and call on them depending on the muse's area of expertise. These muses come from Greek Mythology and they were the deities who gave inspiration to artists and philosophers. They were the nine daughters born of Zeus after he bewildered Mnemosyne. They were all artistically inclined and trained in the arts by Apollo. Their specialties are as follows...
Calliope - Epic Poetry
Clio - History
Erato - Lyric Poetry
Euterpe - Music
Melpomene - Tragedy
Polyhymnia - Choral Poetry
Terpischore - Dance
Thalia - Comedy
Urania - Astrology
**To learn more about the muses individually, this is a great site! The 9 Muses
So there are your Nine Muses. I've never called on any of them specifically, and I wonder how many actually do. The muse in modern day culture refers, in general, to a person or being that inspires a writer, musician or artist. But perhaps calling on the goddess of history or comedy wouldn't be such a bad thing in my case!
On the flip side, you have those who don't believe at all in the muse. On the last page of every edition of Woman’s Day magazine is a page of inspirational quotes by any number of notable figures. In the September 1, 2009 edition, they included a quote by Pablo Picasso that got me thinking. He says, “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.”
On my journey as a writer, I’ve gone through many phases, trying to figure out how I work best. One of those phases was “waiting for the muse”, and I have to admit, she never came. No visions, no dreams, no lighting bolts of inspired scenes. There was just a whole lot of waiting, a whole lot of whining that my muse had left me or that I had writer’s block, and a whole lot of blank pages.
But as soon as I had the courage to sit down and start righting, BOOM! There were the lighting bolts, the ideas, the inspired scenes! The only times I am truly struck with inspiration are the times when I’m working – in some capacity – on my craft. In other words, “inspiration…must find me working.”
But I'm always left wondering if it's the muse that has found me once I've started writing? Or if it's just my willingness to finally apply myself to the task of writing. Does the "muse" really find any of us? Or are we all just too modest to take credit for our own work? What do you think? Are you a believer? Does your muse have to be present in order for you to work? Or does she find you once you're behind the keyboard?