“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns…” — Homer
I was writing before you but, I think maybe my writing wasn’t focused, or wasn’t good until this plateau, this fog of being not-lovers — of you sparking inspiration. Forgive my romance language, because even that is sort of a common, plebeian mistake; too similar to the scenario wherein we are romantic partners. Where I meet up with my friends after seeing you and say, “No, but this time it’s for real. This time everything is perfect. This time I really understand.”
Regardless, the lovely truth is that since I met you, I’ve been writing more.
So I don’t think you are a person, see. I think you are a muse. It comforts me to simplify you. Do you mind terribly if I address you as such, if you are, in fact, a muse — my muse?
I know you existed before me too. I know you’re not some winged pixie or Ancient Greek god. I know you’re just a regular human being. At least, you’ve told me of other cities you’ve lived in and your siblings and your high school and your job so I guess when you’re not with me, you’re not a muse.
Or maybe the same way a creative searches for their muse, so must a muse go through life slightly dormant until they meet someone with an emptiness big enough for them to nestle inside. Maybe the muse needs to find their creator, as much as the creator is desperate for their muse.
You didn’t choose to be my muse. (See, already you’re inspiring unintentional poetry. You’re just that good.) I am unsure if you know you’ve been my muse lately, because well, how would one bring up something this bizarre, this old-fashioned, this intense around casual company? It seems bland to describe to you that you have been my muse when there’s no way to really comfortably explain the relationship if you are, let’s say, off-put by my intentions.
Very well, then, the risk is that this is uncomfortable:
You’re the Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow to my Woody Allen. The Patty Boyd to my Eric Clapton and George Harrison. The half-Japanese cello enthusiast to my Weezer.
You must also forgive me if I don’t behave accordingly toward you, Muse. Despite these excellent pop culture role models, I don’t quite know the etiquette. I am also personally unfamiliar with this feeling.
To say to you, “I want you around all the time so I can look at you and become inspired.” Well, I’m not sure. Are muses like deer in a meadow? Would proclaiming myself to you scare you into the forest? Or would you become equally as transfixed by me as I am by you?
I have been in love before, real love, and I have never written anything about that person. Yet, from the moment I met you, all I’ve done is create. You’ve been showing up, in bits and pieces, in my writing — at first, a quip or quote here or there but soon, a fully-formed epic sprang forth from my head like Athena from Zeus’s crown. (It’s an overblown and overused metaphor, for sure. But it seemed appropriate given the outdated nature of your even being a muse, right? I mean, let’s not split hairs. Some of these lines are indeed your fault.)
To update it, maybe like Leo and Kate in Titanic, you can sprawl naked on my couch and I’ll sit with my Macbook open, typing away — occasionally looking up, tongue wedged between my teeth in focus — capturing your essence, your silhouette, your humor, your jawline. I’d paint it into Microsoft Word, everything you make me feel and think and then simply slap it up onto a blog where it will be consumed within minutes. Where no one will care about the complex nature of what I feel, beyond me — and maybe you?
It’s less romantic than the arts of bygone years that you may be used to — what with the storied history of the muse. We live in a time where these things are more functional than flattering and for that, Muse, I apologize. You certainly deserve more.
Sometimes I wonder — is this too inward? Have I stopped looking outside, searching for the beauty of the world because I’m lost in your musing ways? I want to study you and nothing else. I want to research you like a historical event or a scientific anomaly. Who cares what aspect of quantum mechanics is being uncovered today — I want to know what you think about comic book movies. I want to capture the way your hands move. I want to decipher your voice. I have no power beyond expression, which of course, you now control.
Oh, I’ve gained so much because of you, Muse — but I have also lost, don’t you see? Throughout time and history and art and stories, the creator will always lose.