Sunday, November 4, 2007

Muse with Combat Boots

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
William Shakespeare

A while back in one of the writing groups I belong, the conversation turned to Muses. How did we personify our Muse? There were lots of descriptions of the classical statuesque Grecian goddesses with long flowing diaphanous robes smiling warmly as they bestow their gifts.

Some even saw non human forms like unicorns, horses, and rainbows. It was all so warm and fuzzy, I couldn't relate.

I've come to envision my Muse, these days as John Wayne ready to charge into battle.

She swaggers into the room with a vicious glare demanding to know what the hell I think I'm doing surfing the web or checking my email again. "Get writing and don't let me see your worthless face until you've finished that scene or else!" And I get back to work, after all it's The Duke. He's not just a man of a thousand Sunday afternoons of my childhood but the embodiment of action. When The Duke talks, you walk. Even my father who usually fell asleep in front of the television stayed awake for John Wayne.

Other days, this goddess is transformed into Lawrence Taylor.

She dons her armor as I sit down nervously, fingers poised over the keyboard. I hold my breath pressing down on the first key and then the next until I form a word. She's there, her battle-face terrifying through her helmet, fingers digging into the turf below, muscles in her thighs twitching waiting for the attack.

"Mommy, she said I'm an idiot!" Direct hit.

"Mommy, he hit me!" Ooh, a bone crunching tackle.

Oh no, the toddler has broken through the line, a block in his hand pulling back ready to hurl at the computer screen but Lawrence sensing danger, whirls around and takes him out. And I can take a deep breath and write as the voices and distractions fade into the distance.

The ancient Greeks believed that the Muses inspired all artists but in a house full of children they not only have to inspire but rush into battle.

Write on comrades!

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