Yes, I’ve been blogging and blabbing and sharing the magic and madness of middle age for an entire year now, and it’s been great. I hope you have taken some of my magic and turned it into your own. You are all powerful — you are magical, crazy, lovable friends, and I wish you all the best in the coming years.
My blogging contest has come to an end; I thank you all for your thoughts and your entries. I will announce the winner next post. In the meantime, enjoy the story that started it all…
MY MUSE IS AN IRISH WENCH
Everyone has a Muse in their life — a spirit guide, an angel, who nudges them forward; an invisible energy who inspires us to be something more than a slug on the couch watching TV or a potato chip-eating machine. I have one friend who insists his guardian angel travels with him wherever he goes; I have another who contacts one spirit guide for meditation and a different one for balancing her checkbook. I know one woman who never leaves home without St. Christopher, and a fellow writer who swears he consults Shakespeare’s ghost every time he gets stuck writing his novel.
St. Christopher and Shakespeare are fine and dandy, but what do you do if your creative muse is an Irish Wench? The stories of leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day are bad enough, with their drunken rowdiness and stealing of gold for their pot at the end of the rainbow and all that. But what if your Muse turned out to be a woman with a heart as green as the Emerald Isle who hangs around with those drunken leprechauns?
A Muse is supposed to be your inspiration, your guide, through whatever creative endeavor you undertake. Venus inspired Michelangelo; Cleopatra inspired Marc Anthony, Athena inspired Odysseus. The original Muses were daughters of Zeus, who presided over the arts and sciences. It just so happens that my inspiration is a fiery Irish barmaid is named Fiona who comes complete with cleavage and clover. She pops up at the most inopportune times, standing and dancing on my shoulder or steering wheel or computer, rattling off in thick Gaelic who knows what, hoping to jumpstart my creativity. Dressed in her flowing gauze dress with the girdle that pushes up her breasts in the most obnoxious manner, my little sprite demands attention right then and there. And I’d better stop and acknowledge her, or she will turn everything upside down.
For instance, one of my favorite short stories popped into my head while I was at work. The push to get this written came across loud and clear – write me now. Couldn’t my Muse have at least waited until lunchtime to rattle off her idea? I tried to stall my creativity until noon, but it only got worse. I’m sure some of my creative metaphors got mixed up in whatever I was typing. Or how about the time that one of my book’s most romantic interludes hit me right in the middle of my son’s soccer game? It was pretty hard to make mental notes when I was screaming encouragements to his high school team. And what about the poem that hit me driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour? Or the full-blown idea of a murder mystery that hit me while I was mowing the lawn?
I am all for inspiration. Sunsets are wonderful inducements to creative arts, as are walks through the woods or lying on a sunny beach. Classical music or mellow jazz or even mind-numbing hair band rock can fine-tune one’s creative edge as they sew, paint, crochet or design. The sight of children at play or two seniors holding hands can unfurl pages of creative prose and poetry. But how can you write or draw or knit or paint with a foot stomping, sing-along Irish wench dancing on your shoulder? How can you sit still and concentrate when her Celtic jigs blast through every thread of your body, forcing you to bob your head along with the tempo or sing along with the oh-so-familiar lyrics at the top of your lungs?
Don’t get me wrong – my little wench has brought me much pleasure through the years. She has encouraged me to write some really intense interactions and deeply emotional poetry. Her Wild Irish Rose attitude inspires me to write out of the box, to reach deep inside for feelings and fears that normally don’t see the light of day, and to let those feelings influence my writing. She tosses out ideas for short stories or chapters when I am stuck; she helps me smooth through the rough patches of dialogue when they don’t make sense. She encourages me to do research about places and history and mechanics, refusing to let me slide along with made-up assumptions.
But I have to admit her timing needs a little work. Driving a car or typing numbers in a computer is not the most opportune time to become inspired. Nor is when I mow the lawn (a true instance of inspired genius, I must admit). I can’t be pulling over to the side of the road every other block or flipping the light on in the middle of the night just because she throws an idea towards me that I cannot resist. I do appreciate her help ― I really do. But I have to teach her to work on her impulsiveness. There is a time and place for everything ― even inspiration. Great ideas often have to ferment in one’s psyche before they become full blown masterpieces. And there’s no doubt that you have your own muse dying to catch your attention. All you need to do is listen.
Now, if she could serve me one of those Irish brews as often as she jumped on my bandwagon…on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea. If she served me beer as often as she demands attention, I’d be drunk before I started.