Elizebeth Gilbert gave a TED talk about waiting for the muse. She talks about making time for writing, and if the muse doesn't show up, it's the muse's fault, not hers. If the muse shows up when she isn't ready, the muse should know better; she doesn't listen.
Sometimes we have people in our lives that spur our creativity. We find ourselves in these crazy productive and successful places purely because of the presence of another. Sometimes it may not be one individual, but a community, and everyone finds themselves caught up in this wild storm of art and beauty. I think this is the muse.
The communal aspect of the muse can be seen in a lot of art history. Paris and modernism. The New York School. The Beats and the road and each other. LA and NYC in the late 80's and early 90's and gangster rap. These tightly knit communities that catalyze the present creativity and talent.
The twin muse is there too. Keats and Wordsworth. Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. Chris Farley and David Spade (don't tell me that Beverly Hills Ninja or Dickie Roberts is even half as good as Tommy Boy [but maybe Joe Dirt is close]). Sure, they're perfectly capable, or even great, on their own, but the sum of the two together is somehow better than the individuals alone.
|I mean, LOOK at them|
I'd say that I've had exposure to these two forms of the muse. In grad school and, to a lesser extant, in Portland, I had these amazing communities around me that both inspired me, and, I hope, I contributed a small part to the collective.
I also think of my good friend and amazing poet, Carrie Murphy, as my twin muse. I can't really speak for her, but I can't imagine my poems going out into the world without her reading them first. I can't imagine writing something without eventually asking for her input. Would I still write if Carrie weren't around? Surely I would, but I don't know what kind of poet I would be, what kind of poems would come out.
Then there is the muse that is just the muse. The person that somehow gives inspiration without getting anything in return. Eddie Sedgwik to Andy Warhol. Gala to Salvador Dalí. Kevin Federline to Britney Spears. Prince to Prince (yes, he is his own muse, and why the fuck not? he's beautiful). This is something I know nothing about. I've never had a person in my life that just gave me creativity, made me productive, or was pure inspiration.
My inspiration typically comes from a vacuum left by people who left. That's a different blog post entirely...