Romancing the Muse


Apollo: Daphne, no! No! And by Jovenian, why a tree?
Daphne: Oh, I think you know, poet god. I think you know…

Because from a tree comes a big, fat block. Looks like even Apollo had issues with writer’s block. Sure, if you want to get literal, you could say that Daphne wasn’t a Muse and she was definitely blocking something else, but read the subtext of the myth and you might find that Classical writers probably suffered as much as the rest of us.

In fact, our universal personification of inspiration as a beautiful thing is probably way, way off.

Stephen King says the Muse is a basement and cellar kind of guy—a paunchy, hairy, cigar-smoking fairy as opposed to these goddesses on Mt. Aeolus that doled out creativity to men like Homer and Sophocles and Aristophanes.


You mean the Master of Horror was behind THIS? Hell, makes sense…

Poets have been romanticizing this process for as long as it’s been going on, and it’s all bulls—. I don’t believe in Deus Ex Machina, or Divine Inspiration, or any of that.

Stephen King is the only one telling the truth. The Muse is not a classical goddess. The Muse is not a shoulder fairy with pompoms and leg warmers, a benevolent spirit doing cartwheels and heel kicks on your scapula, shouting, W-R-I-T-E! Write! Write!

The truth is the Muse is a real douche bag. And if you want to get anything out of him, you have to close pin his wings together and beat him with a tack hammer.

My Muse looks like a miniaturized version of Fontaine from Bioshock. He gets around on a pair of thin, greasy wings that look like a gene-spliced job. Splicer. He’s always just out of reach, calling me boyo and threatening to deny me Rapture if I don’t feed him[1].


Oh, what I’m going to put you through today for revealing my existence to the world, boyo. Did you actually feel like getting your 3,000 words? Now there are nothing but bunnies in your head. Happy, cutesy bunnies. Enjoy that.

Would you kindly eat this entire Dominoes pizza and side of butter? It’s unsalted. Enjoy that.

Sometimes the son of a b—- makes me do household chores, update my hygiene, pay the bills. Inspiration isn’t cheap, and he gets his due first.

Would you kindly clean the oven? Would you kindly take the car in for an oil change? Would you kindly give this donut some face time? No, the other one. Bearclaw. That’s it.

This is why artists, real artists, are either drug addicts or insane.

I should say something inspirational here, but then I’d be lying too. This isn’t about inspiration. This is a knock-down, drag-out fight between the splicer and me. This is the part where I chase the blinking cursor till my fingers pound like pneumatic pistons and my vision blurs. This is the part where I get the Muse to say, Would you kindly finish your novel and take what’s yours? 

[1] Fontaine is the villain in the critically acclaimed Sci-Fi shooter Bioshock, which takes place during the Cold War in a Neo-Atlantis called Rapture. “Splicer” is a reference to the game’s genetically altered humans. Fontaine was able to control the protagonist by using the phrase, “Would you kindly…?” 


Filed under My Writing, Publishing, Rants, Reading, Science Fiction, Writing

8 responses to “Romancing the Muse

  1. TAE

    I think the muse is female, though, or possibly gay (to offend a group that I don’t belong to), or a straight but highly egocentric guy, who is infatuated with his d__.
    What makes me say that? The douche (whatever (s)he is) is super fickle and a bitch. Some character traits are more likely found among the menstruating part of the population, you know?
    Now I feel like I stained your blog. Excuse me. Most times I only mean half of what I say…promise.


    • Hey, your remarks are your own. A couple of my best friends are gay, though, and I have to say that neither of them fit the effeminate stereotype. I wouldn’t let either of them dress me, for starters. (That sounded bad…)

      Maybe your need to view the Muse as female/effeminate stems from the same source as my need (and Stephen King’s) to view him/her as male–self objectification. I think of the female sex as nurturing and giving, and as my Muse doesn’t do a damn thing unless he’s getting something out of it first, in my mind he is a sort of evil business tycoon, like Fontaine.

      The succubus tempts men one way, but when I think of our dreams and aspirations, I guess I get my postmodern Mephistopheles.


      • TAE

        All the gay friends I’ve ever had fit that description…ha, and many of my female acquaintances and friends at times, and myself. I think we all fit one category in any given moment (and then another one in the next).
        I just like to spout stereotypes – it may be some sort of stress relief.


      • TAE

        I will mull your comment over for a while – I mean the part about self-objectification.
        And just to redeem myself a little bit, I don’t think (I think) of actual people in these stereotypes, I just know these stereotypes exist, and my mind (one way or another) works with them, too, at least subconsciously. And as a blonde, I’ve come up with my own, albeit politically incorrect, way of dealing with them.
        I should have a disclaimer ahead of any comment I make. Dang.


      • Stereotypes, while sometimes politically incorrect, are used all the time in writing and imagining fictional things that must still make some kind of logical sense to the creator. We are discussing how we imagine a Muse. My version is also built on a stereotype–the vicious businessman. My stereotype just happens to be politically correct at present.


      • TAE

        True, and I’m glad we’re on the same page as to what we’re talking about. I’m just really getting used to being completely misunderstood, when I write comments…my face usually tells people that I’m being full of bs, and since I appreciate our little exchanges, I wanted to make sure you don’t think I’m an ass.


  2. petit4chocolatier

    Dali’s muse Gala {female} ended up being his life partner and a main inspiration of his art 🙂


    • Yeah, but he was also coo coo ka choo for Cocoa Puffs lol. (According to main streamers, anyway. I actually never found his art that difficult to relate to.)

      So basically what you’re saying is that I should dress Em up in a toga, burn some incense, and demand that she inspire me. Hmm…

      …challenge accepted!


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