Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Musings on Muses

We all know about the trope of the writer's muse. It's current incarnation can be seen in the TV show Castle, where a female homicide detective plays muse (and will they/won't they love interest) to a mystery writer, but it's an idea that's older than Virgil.

But in the 21st Century, who actually has one? Nobody I know. The tradition of the muse holds that it is someone who inspires, and whom the artist (or writer) holds close. While I draw on my kids for a lot of ideas, I would hardly call them my muses, since flashes of insight are often more accidental and incidental than purposefully sought. Also, I don't keep them around because they inspire me; I keep them around because they're my kids.

And my novels all spring from one central idea and then grow from there - there's no-one I go back to for inspiration time and again. It's mostly me, my computer, and my sofa. If I need inspiration or fact-checking, I turn to the internet or the nearest museum curator. Or sometimes documentaries on public television.

So, in this age of the information superhighway, does anyone actually have a muse anymore? Does anyone even need one? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I think the term "Muse" is a metaphor for creativity. My first attempt at writing was a story about a writer whose muse had failed him. It was intended to be funny and was called The Constipated Muse. I cringe when I read it now.