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Once again the muse overtakes me.

I have not written on this journal much, it is true. However I did recently post a little something to Customers Suck, Go take a look. I can wait.

Done yet? No? Haven't even go--Grr. I see how it's going to be.

The muse is a fickle thing, in all truth to it. It's origins are enigmatic, it disappears often when you truly need it most. We do blindly envy those who seem to have captured this muse and keep it chained to them, but often they fake it. It is why many series go downhill, as the authors force themselves upon the written word rather than let the muse guide their hands and thoughts.

It is quite sad, and often ends up in half of a book being one extended camping trip (Burn).

Deadlines are the enemy of the muse. When an author of any stripe succumbs to a deadline, their work is often harmed by it. That is when you can see glimmers of inspiration in the work, but oftentimes it is drowned by the brutal force that is writing.

Apparently my topic today is writing. Alright than. It only took how many paragraphs to get to here?

I'm not a writer, not in truth. I can edit papers decently, if I say so myself. Even modify things slightly to flow better. But to write myself? No. I can do things in one short burst, but if I save something written I will never come back to it. My muse is that fickle, it taunts me with ideas that it will never grant me the time to fully flesh out.

Now of course, I keep stating Muses as if they're real, and not just a creative spark in any given person. In truth, having been on the receiving end on Muses, sometimes it does cause me to wonder if these supernatural beings truly do exist. If so, where do they fall on the hierarchy of supernatural beings?

In Dogma, quite possibly Kevin Smith's strongest work (And, controversially, his last good movie), they were beings who were on the plane of Angels. Many sided with the Lord in Lucifer's prideful rebellion (One day I shall write on Lucifer and his relationship to Christianity, and to the historical development of the Sa'tan concept. ... I think that may piss people off.), those who attempted to stay neutral were punished as fence-sitters. Which of course states a rather American viewpoint, don't you think? Once war comes, every one has to give their all. Even if they are not fighters.

Of course as I do not quite believe in the Judea-Christia-Islamic God, that above was a waste of time to write.

The idea of Muses however come to us from the Ancient Greeks (as do many other things. Of course, things are twisted with history). They are the spirits who inspire creation, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. (seriously, Zeus, cheat on your wife with the goddess of memory? I'd assume if she never came back to you, that's due to her knowing how bad a lover you are. Ha Ha! I mock you in the winter, where's your precious lightning?!) Their purpose was to inspire men, and of course, each muse had a specific job.

The lesser known ones, that never seem to appear in popular culture will be mentioned first.

Erato is the muse of lyrical poetry. Given the name, I am sure many of you can guess what kind of lyrical poetry.

Euterpe is the muse of Music.

Polyhymnia is (Is it that hard to guess?) the muse of Choral Poetry. And mimes for some reason. The greeks were weird. Really weird.

Melpomene is the muse of tragedy. Thalia the muse of Comedy. Their sacred emblems are well known even today, though often are seen together, not separate.

Urania was the muse of Astronomy, which is an odd thing to have a muse for. Clio, the muse for History, makes some more sense. That at least requires writing. But perhaps Astronomy, the creation of global positioning models and the like, perhaps it makes sense. This would help explain the Antikytheran device...

Terpsichore is the muse seen most often on television, with certain reality shows at the moment. The muse of Dance. I would like to believe she does hang out around So You Think You Can Dance....But perhaps not. It *is* a reality show after all.

And that leaves us to the most well known muse, yet the one that seems most ill-fitting to modern society. Calliope. the Muse of Epic (or Heroic) Poetry. She appears in many places in popular culture. Comics, Novels, sitcoms, popular music...

It is quite odd. Perhaps, it can be argued, that modern novel writing is an evolution of Heroic Poetry. I would not be averse to that argument, it does make quite a bit of sense.

So perhaps it is Call--Oh, here I am referring to muses not just as real, but now going with these specific 9.

Humankind tends to anthropomorphize things. It helps us understand the universe through our limited experiences, afterall. God is a Man, just like us, but perfect (just like us. ha ha). Before Jehovah (and poor poor Sophia), there was of course every natural event being linked to a God. The Son was pulled across the sky by a chariot. Perhaps it was fleeing a alligator that wanted to eat it (Again, we do tend to use our own experiences as points of reference.) People believe. We see the darkness that is our lack of knowledge of the universe and are frightened by it. So we fill it, with Gods.

Because man is limited, we first filled the darkness with that which frightened us. Primordial beings that would eat us if we strayed too far from home. Eventually we filled the darkness with Gods who would rise up against the primordial darkness and fill it with light. But because man is flawed, the gods were flawed. We dare not think the Divine was perfect, for are we all not divine ourselves? Eventually that fell away, however. Then came the idea of Control. The Divine is Perfect, and thou shalt submit to it. For to not submit to that which is perfect is an act of Hubris and that--well. I'm falling into Lucifer territory again.

But we anthropomorphize. Even our own creations. Boats are referred to as "She". Our pets think just like we do, or so we like to make ourselves believe. Everything has to be just like us. Because if we think it's not like us, than it's the Other. The Outsider. And Outsiders are always terrifying. They are alien to us, their belief systems, their languages, all of that frighten and confuse us. And this is a very deep seated aspect of humanity, harkening back to the cave days. If not earlier.

And so, our creativity got anthropomorphized. Nine muses. Well, originally three. The Greeks, when not looking at other men in lust, really liked to be surrounded with more and more women. These nine muses would be that which we have to give thanks for our work. (As you can see, there are hints, even in Greek Mythology, that man is worthless and can accomplish nothing by ourselves) And they did not die out with the Greek way of life. Nor with the Roman Empire. They kept appearing in literature throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Now, few people do pay homage to these beings. A few plays, a few novels, come out, calling out to the muse in the opening paragraphs. But now we, as a species, seem to be growing more self confident. Willing to admit that we can do things ourselves. That's sort of terrifying actually.


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June 2010

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