Abstract: Muses might be all we need to tap into our creative side. How about taking a few minutes each day to nurture your muse? You might find some unexpected surprises lurking.

 

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily goings on that we forget to give ourselves creative nourishment. The term muse comes from the original Muses who were the nine daughters of the Greek God, Zeus. In today’s world, a muse may be thought of as a source of creative inspiration. A muse can be either a person, situation or even a fantasy. In Ray Bradbury’s book, The Zen of Writing, he says this aboutmuses: “What is The Subconscious to every other man, in its creative aspect becomes, for writers, The Muse.” Bradbury believes that they are two names for the same thing.

It’s been said that people and situations nourish our subconscious, in fact, some people so favorably tap into our subconscious that they provide us with ongoing creative inspiration. It’s a good idea that we surround ourselves with those who inspire or nurture us—those who exude positive, creative and nourishing energy.

Another way to nurture the muse is to spend some time doing some serious people-watching. Writers often make this their past-time. After all, being a writer is a full-time job. Writers are actually professional eavesdroppers. We get inspired when we hang out in public places, such as restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, hotel lobbies, shopping malls and doctor’s offices. Fiction writer Honore Balzac was known for sitting in Parisian cafes for hours, writing and watching people. So we should back up our journals, turn up our hearing aids and head out!

When in public places, it’s a good idea to jot down nuggets of conversations. This tunes us into the everyday common muses. After performing this task for a while, it becomes habit. Before long, we notice the utterances and situations which resonate with us. Maybe we choose to write about them. It’s important to be alert and mindful in order to capture these gifts from the muses in our environment.

As a writer, Bradbury says that there are many different ways to nourish the muse, and one ritual he advocates is reading poetry every day. “Poetry,” he says, “is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition.”

Poetry is the voice of the soul. Poets help us see a slice of the world in a way in which we might not have observed it before. They highlight details to cast a light on a feeling, an image, or an event Poetry also helps offer insight into both the human psyche and human behavior, and is a place where the imagination can roam free and allow the muse to enter.

It’s a good idea to keep a poetry book at our bedside to read a few poems before retiring for the night. Think of it as a daily vitamin. There’s also the possibility that this ritual not only makes us feel good, but has subconsciously nurtured our own urge to write poetry. Another way to nourish the muse is to read writers who inspire us and tap into our creativity.

In his book, The Muses Among Us, Kim Stafford writes, “I don’t begin, the writing does. I don’t try. I yield. I have written in trees, on planes, by flashlight, during symphonies, by the light of a movie screen, while driving (I’ve lately sworn off this), during faculty meetings, and while making dinner. Every shirt must have a pocket and every pocket a notebook and a pen. Once the muse bites, it’s delicious anywhere. For the act of writing begins before you consciously know if you have time. Your hands do it.”

That’s why you should always carry a journal. You just never know when the muse will visit with a thought which could be a seedling for the next breakthrough writing project.

Some writers also use music and art for inspiration. Music can be used to set a mood, help find an appropriate voice or establish a writing rhythm. Music can help fill the reservoir of our creativity.

Poetry, people, places, art and music—the everyday world is a garden of nourishment for the muse. We just need to be slow down time, be open, listen and be eager to take it all in, and before long we’ll reap unexpected benefits.  

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