Saturday, April 12, 2008

Musing on Muses

I’ve got my little table at Panera with my to-go cup of café mocha and my blueberry scone. I guess that means I’m ready for either a little people watching or some introspection.

I think today is an introspective day. I’ve had the concept of the artist’s muse floating in the back of my head for the past couple weeks and it’s a topic that I’ve been wanting to touch on, but I’ve been waiting for a moment when I actually had some time to write a cohesive and coherent thought.

In general, the concept of the muse traces back to Greek mythology and depending on which story you read, there are either, 3, 7, or 9 muses. Without going into the history (too late), the idea of the muse is a source of inspiration.

I guess the question that has been nagging at me is “do I have a muse?” Do I have a source of inspiration that I fall back on when I’m working? For the most part, my artistic creation comes in the form of the written word, but I also do some landscape photography on occasion when I need to get away from my computer and re-fill the creative well.

At first, I thought maybe music was my muse. I tend to listen to certain types of music when I’m writing fight scenes vs. dramatic, secret-revealing scenes. I listen to a different style of music when I’m plotting and outlining the book vs. when I’m actually editing. But, in the end, I don’t think music is my muse. I use music to not only lift me out of “reality” but also to preserve a certain mood. Dark, grim music for dramatic scenes and fast, angry music for fight scenes. But, as a sort of inspiration … not quite.

A number of my stories come from just walking down the street or sitting in a corner booth at Panera and watching the people around me. I’ve got a side project that I’m toying with whenever I have a little free time. It was born out of my trip to Las Vegas last fall. I was walking down the Strip and my mind just kept asking “what if?” What if you live here? What if you were a part of the “behind the scenes” crew? What if …? Mixing in my own twisted imagination and a need for the surreal, I came up with a story. Sometimes, the massive, unpredictableness of the world around me is muse enough.

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