Ah, the Muse. Though I’ve dealt with it briefly here, it deserves expanded explanation. As I said in the link, when it comes to the question around how I write (which basically means: what is my muse) in a word, “the answer is: motivation. In a few words: the expectation that writing will achieve something. And to go even deeper . . . : the firm belief that I will gain the opportunity to give and be given conditional love.” Now, muses can be anything or anyone. They can be a bottle of wine, a pack of cigarettes or a plate of delicious food. They can be the sands of the beach, the stars of the heavens, or the leaves of the forest. Or they can be the barista who always greets you warmly when you get your morning coffee; the girl who throws smiling sneaky glances your way when you pass while walking to work; or another girl in your class who you’d give everything to spend more time with, even though eternity would never be enough. It’s important, too, that your muse has some sense of impermanence about them. If one of your muses is alcohol, good, because bottles always empty. And if one of your muses is a romantic desire or conquest, also good, because relationships – not to mention marriages – are notoriously fickle. And, in any event, people sooner or later die – so in that sense all romances are doomed.
Impermanent muses might sound anathema to the purpose of your energy, whether that’s writing or painting or running. Because it might seem that knowing you’ll say goodbye to them one day will hamper your energy. But in fact an accepted sense of their mortality, not to mention your own, gives added drive; added urgency to your passion. One thing you have to be careful of is that your muse is as much as possible only the object of your passion, and not its purpose. Muses are beautiful, fragile and temporal things. If you make them the object of your passion, they will act as the engine room of your energy, whatever its purpose, for as long as they are meant to. If you make them the very purpose of your passion, however, they will be swiftly depleted by the destructive energy of having the amplified passion they gave you directed back at them. Think of it like using the sun through a magnifying glass to burn a leaf, or else directing the light through a magnifying glass back at the sun and destroying it. Obviously that’s impossible, but it’s merely an analogy. Muses cannot and should not receive the very energy they’ve given you. If you wish to direct energy toward them, it must originate with you and never them.
In order to better articulate the point, I’ll share some of my own personal muses. I like to drink, as I’ve dealt with in a previous blog post. I like to smoke, which I’ve also dealt with in a previous blog post. And I like to surf, which is dealt with partly here. They’re all superficial muses, on their own, though there’s a lot of strengths and weaknesses about them, especially in regard to surfing, which either further give to or take away from their musing capacity. Plus I have many more muses significant or not. Writing is not one of my muses, not the object of my passion, because it is instead the purpose of it. Reading, on the other hand, is one of the objects of my passion. And I dealt with it, forever only partly, here and then here. And then there is, of course, the woman – which doesn’t yet refer to one particular woman. I dealt, perhaps riskily but quite genuinely with my final but foremost muse right here. I was talking with my brother the other day about women in regard to musing. Normally in life the idea with women is loosely kind of like how it’s outlined in The Godfather movie. Y’know, “In America, first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman”. Pretty sure it was The Godfather. Maybe it was Once Upon a Time in America. Actually I’ve since realised that line is almost certainly from Scarface. Either way, that’s the traditional model – which I wouldn’t blame many women for disagreeing with. When a woman is sought after or recognised as a muse, however, this principle is turned on its head.
Jim Morrison, of ‘70s rock band The Doors, in the movie The Doors, starts off as a nobody wandering around with a head full of acid and a philosophy novel in his hand in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Then he meets a woman, falls in love with her, explicitly tells her she’s his muse – and goes on to found one of the greatest music acts of all time. Then unfortunately dies aged 27. The point is that he met the girl, and she gave him the strength to do what he was meant to in order to gain money, fame and power; not that he did what he had to in order to gain money, fame and power and that she came along as a result. It’s different with creativity. If, say, a banker is a savvy operator and rises quickly through the ranks to gain an upper-management role and the money and power that goes along with it, he’s not going to have a lot of trouble finding a woman. But a writer. Or a musician or painter or street artist or whatever. Such people need to gain their muses in order to achieve their goals; instead of achieving their goals in order to gain their muses. I hope you understand what I’m talking about. It’s why so many creatives will be willing to live in relative squalor until they achieve success. It’s not because they’re masochistic. It’s because they need to focus first on an object of their passion – whether that’s a bottle of whiskey, a bag of marijuana, a girl sleeping nearby on a mattress on the floor, or all of the above. It’s not about comfort. It’s about strength. The strength to make their humble mark on the world, which their substance or siren has at least brought out of them or else completely given them. And it’s finally about gratitude to their muse, even if when it’s time for thanks the muse may have long left their side. Thanks are important, and in fact vital, at least in hindsight, because they validate both the muse and whatever creative work they inspired.
I’ve always found muses wherever I could. In or outside my bedroom, in the kitchen, down the road, in the ocean, or as outlined here across the other side of the world. But muses are never so at once powerful and fragile as when they take female form. And, for the first time in quite a while, I have found one such female. Firstly, I should stress that she either has little or very well-veiled interest in me. I’m actually not far off completely giving up the idea of reciprocated affection, unless she makes it clear to me or gives me the chance to make it clear to her. From the point-of-view of her as my muse, however, it makes no difference: she gives me the strength to do what, for the moment, I have to do (which principally is the tail-end of the above link to my about 50,000 word travel journal). She is either the most powerful muse in female form that I’ve ever come across, or she is simply the first I’ve come across who I’ve consciously registered as my muse. I like to think the former is true. She’d probably be the first to say she’s nothing special – while I obviously wouldn’t say that at all, except in jest to her. But, sure, I’ve met women who are technically more funny or engaging or intelligent or attractive. That said, and in ways I can’t explain, she still is to me more funny, engaging, intelligent and attractive than any women I’ve ever come across. She is the most dorky, weird, sarcastic, witty, intelligent, awesome and literally stunningly beautiful woman I’ve ever come across.
Every time I talk to her, when she rarely even gives me the pleasure of eye-contact, my heart breaks a little more. But again, from the point-of-view of musing, her disinterest matters little. I draw passion from the very knowledge of her existence. Sure, if she remains cold and distant I’ll eventually move on to bigger (well, perhaps not bigger) and better women who might even be more likely to reciprocate my affection. I’m sure she suspects my affection, even if she knows not its depth and genuineness. But I wonder how she’d react to learning she’s my muse. I think the knowledge would either drive her far away, or draw her closer hither. It doesn’t matter either way. She could never take away the effect she’s had on me with the proverbial 1000 wild horses. She will fuel the journal’s completion, and perhaps much more, regardless. I hope that explains things. Before I die, whether in one year or 80, whether I’ve achieved the creative writing success I crave or not, I will be able to look back on the abovementioned journal and smile with satisfaction. I’ll also be able to recall, whether she’s at my death-bed-side or not, that she was the one who gave me the strength not to begin it, but to complete it. To complete it with such strength of passion that if said passion was directed back toward her, it would destroy her – in her capacity as a source of inspiration, not literally. And, finally, to her face or figuratively to her once glorious influence on my existence, I would thank her. Her, those muses who came before her, and any who might have come afterward. In whatever form.