Three Blogs to Muse by

I’m struggling to put together a post about ‘the Muse’.  I have a hunch it’s not the benign little pixie most of us think it is.  I’m wondering, though, if it matters.  Would it matter if you knew that your Muse were trying to kill you?  Would you care? 

While I work on this ‘dark Muse’ theory, I invite you to log on to three popular writing blogs.  If I’ve been slack in publishing timely posts lately, I blame them:

Two of them have paid me the honour of being a “guest blogger” on their site.  If you’ve taken an interest in my new free eBook, STORY STRUCTURE TO DIE FOR, you’ll find these Reece’s pieces to be succinct explanations of my theory.  I can’t do better than this:

Meanwhile, over on The Artist’s Road, you’ll find a short interview with an American songwriter who speaks graphically about the Muse.

The interview started me obsessing about the purpose of creative endeavour.  He describes the state of mind he cultivates for himself prior to performing — becoming a hollow bamboo.  In this way, his Muse can work through him. 

If that’s not annihilation of the personality, what is?  I’m telling you, the Muse is out to kill you. 

I can hardly wait to deal with that in an upcoming post. 


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  1. says

    Re: Them Deadly Muses
    Indeed, they are on a mission. Jung’s writings on Anima/Animus provide sagacious insights into the ‘death and transformation’ the Muse brings in her wake. For Blake, Muses are agents of ‘spiritual warfare.’ Kinda the exact opposite of corporeal war — in the spiritual version, one (i.e., the writer) is slain by a truth deeper than what he/she is presently capable of holding. The result? instant resurrection to a higher order of being. To the very degree that we do not engage our inner stuff, Blake noted, we project our demons outside and wage corporeal war, which is much more like ‘death and trance formation’. And oh yes, this gem from Jung, “The Anima speaks things both false and true.”

  2. says

    Hmm, couple things I hope might be helpful. James Hillman writing about Jung-on-Anima, might be much more accessible and useful to you than trudging through the daunting corpus of Jung’s work. Similarly, Northrop Frye’s book on Blake ‘Fearful Symmetry’ is full of great insights into what was behind Blake’s prayer to the Human Imagination:

    “Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all my life!”

  3. Yvette Carol says

    Hi PJ! Never thought of it like that before…but now you mention it, yes I’m sure you’re right. How do I feel if my muse is trying to kill me? Just fine. Let it go ahead and do its work. Because as we’ve discussed before, the self has to die….
    I’m with the songwriter you mentioned, in how I think of the Muse. The way I think of it is Inspiration that comes from a source outside of and greater than myself. When I am in the ‘genesis period’ of a book, and writing the rough draft, that is when I think of myself as ‘the vessel’ for that divine inspiration to come through.
    Then later, for the editing, and rewriting, and polishing that endlessly follows, I see that as when the me who has learned a little about the craft comes out to play and do her part.
    Yvette Carol

  4. says

    The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference, so why shouldn’t high-emotion conflict be at play with our not-indifferent muses?

    Great post, PJ, and thanks for the shout-out to The Artist’s Road and link to the Voice of Golden Eagle video. I hadn’t thought about his surrendering to his muse in the form of annihilation the way you do.

  5. says

    Patrick… glad to see you over here… yes, annihilation… I see the Muse as a secret agent of destruction. Of course, this destruction is a blessing. If our higher natures are lurking behind our belief systems, the removal of those belief systems is everything to us as human beings. It’s all counter-intuitive, but nothing excites me more than dashing conventional wisdom… as you may have guessed by now. P.S. I’m not really an ornery kind of guy!

  6. says

    Yes, we are all hollow tubes waiting for our Muse to deliver the goods. At least Leonard Cohen is “Going Home”.

  7. says

    Thanks for the heads-up about LC’s song “Going Home”. I don’t know that one… shame on me! …but yes it’s his muse keeping him honest. Very cool.


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