What do you do to nourish your muse?

My Muse - parsakoira

A bit of consistency is best for a muse and her subject. So I try to start my day at the same time, as early as she can kick me out of bed. If time permits, something to break the fast of the night’s repose, healthy if possible, fruit, cereal or dare I admit to it, the candy of meats, bacon. If I am really lucky, my wife makes one of those banana/fruit/flaxseed/protein powder drinks she loves. When I am unlucky, the recipe includes kale (ugh).

A brisk regimen of blood flowing cardiovascular activity to increase the muse’s serotonin levels boosting creativity. For exercise to truly benefit a muse, it need be a regular thing, a long term gift to both you and your muse. A healthy muse is a wealthy muse. My muse admits to not enjoying regular exercise.

I admit my muse did once have a caffeine habit as the wicked drug can force open the doors of creativity, but the cost was a nervous eye twitch that was quite unbecoming to everyone who knew us. We have now dropped to one cup, in the morning after our exercise and breakfast.

But for a muse to truly be creatively inspiring more than just exercise is needed. A muse thrives on experiences, the more diverse, the better. A muse does not thrive sitting at home watching the telly. No, if anything the telly saps a muse of creativity, exposing it to the idea the blandishments of modern media are to be the accepted form all creativity must take; be safe, be friendly, be predictable, be violent, be dangerous, ensure a happy ending when all is said and done.

As if life were so predictable.

Go outside, meet your neighbors, ride mass transit, yes, mass transit, for a wealth of stories await you if you can simply look, listen, imagine and believe. Driving is a solitary prison disconnecting you from stories not introducing you to them. Jump from a plane, ride a cross continental train, ride a ship, do all of these things, so you might experience the world from a perspective different than yours.

See the night sky at sea. Be amazed at all the stars you didn’t know were there. Introduce yourself to the Milky Way. It will speak back to you. Plummet to the ground at 32 feet per second, per second, feel you heart rise into your mouth, know fear. Makes your writing about it more real. Go to a play. Feel language in a way you don’t normally use. Let it roll over you, through you. This feeds your muse like nothing else.

A muse secretly craves facts, despite their artistic bent. My muse reads over my shoulder marveling at the same things I do, often finding ways of using things I read in a fashion I hadn’t thought of. Technically, that’s her job. Reading the news, reading the tabloids (not too often) reading the crackpots (so many interesting theories its hard sometimes to remember they are crackpots).

Most of all, read the classics. Yes, some are SO dull. My muse falls asleep when I read some of them. But they are not for her anyway. They are for me. Jack London reminds me to connect to nature. HP Lovecraft connects me to fear. Edgar Allen Poe connects me to the monstrosity of the human condition. Machiavelli connects me to the intellectual craft of human manipulation. You may never use any of these. But it helps as a writer, to know how far human beings have come, will go, and have gone if you want to write about characters you or anyone else will give a damn about.

Most of all, engage your muse in fun. This mean getting away from writing and having a good time. Muses need fun to unleash their creativity by connecting ideas from all of your experiences, your reading, your writing, your life, your loves, your beliefs and most importantly your connection to the Universe where ideas abound, awaiting you and your muse to reach into that realm of Logos, that place of perfection and find your stories aborning.

Your muse and you are one, inseparable; to follow your muse, you must first lead her to your inspirations.

What do you do to nourish your muse? © Thaddeus Howze 2012. All Rights Reserved

Painting: My Muse, © Deviant ARTist: parsakoira

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