The Slippery Muses

July 7, 2007

Inspiration is a funny thing.

Sometimes you’re whirring along, firing on all cylinders, an endless fount of brilliant ideas and clever prose.  Then sometimes you’re left staring at blank page waiting for the inspiration to come, thinking “I got nothin”.  That’s when you have to call upon your muse.

Muses are inherently slippery things.  Like sparks of ideas and glimmers of creative notions, you have to grasp them firmly or they’ll slip right out of your hands and slide away into the ether.  In ancient Greek literature, the muses were often invoked at the beginning of a piece as a sign that the author was following the poetic traditions.

From Homer’s Odyssey:

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns

driven time and time again off course, once he had plundered

the hallowed heights of Troy.

Later writers also called upon the Muses.  From Shakespeare’s Henry V:

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

*This post is part of this week’s Sunday Scribblings.

*The photo is from the ruins at the ancient city of Cyrene, in what is now Libya.

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11 Responses to “The Slippery Muses”

  1. […] Inspirationis a funny thing. Sometimes you’re whirring along, firing on all cylinders, an endless fount of brilliant ideas and clever Read full story… […]

  2. theemptyvessel said

    liked it!

  3. clair said

    That’s the beauty of muses. You never know where and when they might appear and when they do, you sometimes lose them too quickly.

  4. gautami said

    That photo is very beautiful. Thoughtful post too!

  5. Oi! I am off to jog after my own slippery muses right now!

    Wonderful post, and the image was so great to See.
    Blessings,
    e

  6. Patois said

    I’m so glad you found your muse here. Lovely photo and wonderful references.

  7. Paul said

    Sounds like you’ve got your muses firmly in your hands. Really nice piece.

  8. Jacqueline Zenn said

    Thanks everyone!

  9. “…sparks of ideas and glimmers of creative notions, you have to grasp them firmly or they’ll slip right out of your hands and slide away into the ether.”

    Isn’t that just exactly how it is Jacqueline!

    I have endured futile chases of my muse more than once, only to have it elude me. So frustrating!!

  10. anni said

    muses…sometimes so sweet, sometimes so elusive.

  11. gnoll110 said

    The Roman cities of North Africa.

    They must be a wonderful places to visit and study. Great sources of ideas for what can be done to sustain a civil society in a dry climate and a low/expense energy world.

    Wonder if the Muses are from the Roman period or the earlier Greek period.

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