It’s probably a bit old hat right now. Thinking about who or what might inspire you. I got to thinking about it when I posed the question in class and scored almost zero response. It either wasn’t something the students had perhaps considered or that they were already following so many influencers that it’s a natural part of their lives. People concerned about diet or health follow Deliciously Ella – confused about sexuality? there’s ten thousand people out there with a blog. Any issue at all, there’s a million others with advice. This is an amazing tool which could have come in handy when I was young. Can’t work out how to use your iphone – just Google it and every single aspect of it is on-line for free. Need advice on how to live your life? It’s right here. Who needs a mentor.
Perhaps no one needs inspiration from a ‘real life’ individual anymore because they are completely overwhelmed by media coming at them from every direction. It’s must be hard to discern good from bad – everything is filtered to reflect your preferences to discourage you from straying outside of the Facebook comfort zone. (Unless you actually seek out the bad stuff and then the exact same filtering effect will take place. If you like this act of random violence – you’ll just love this one.)
Jean d’Arc was inspired by visions to lead the French to victory – numerous saints likewise found inspiration in God. In latter years people have found what they need in drugs (but most likely promptly forgot what it was that captured their imagination when they came down). Others, and I am one, have been in the past inspired by my muse. Call it a crush, call it what you will, but to be so enamored by another person it inspires you to create your best work is often the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to you. It might be later you discover the muse has feet of clay, but no matter, the work is done and you are better for it. I for one miss that halo effect. Creation in the arts inspired by deep and passionate love (often unrequited).
John Keats had Fanny Brown, Fitzgerald had Zelda (arguably the better writer) and of course the Greeks had nine muses – Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomeni, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope. Zeus entranced by young Mnemosyne slept with her for nine consecutive nights. The result of their encounter was the Nine Muses. Μnemosyne gave the infants to Nymph Eufime and God Apollo. When they grew up they showed their tendency to the arts, taught by God Apollo himself. They were not interested in humdrum life; they dedicated their lives to the Arts. Apollo raised them in Mount Elikonas. Since that moment, the Muses encouraged creation, enhancing imagination and inspiration of the artists. Well that’s the myth anyway.
Perhaps I should advertise for a new muse, but muses are very hard to come by and the random rarity is what makes it special. Nor can I say exactly who or what might inspire. It can be a little smile, the way a person walks, anything…
I remember a girl from my past whom I adored called Doke M. Stunningly beautiful, elusive, educated me about music. She was mysterious and cared not a fig for my devotion. But perhaps that is as it should be. She inspired me to start writing and broke my heart when she eloped with a man she just met without saying goodbye. Muses only inspire, they aren’t supposed to be tied down and captured. All is lost if they lose their mystery.
I hope my students find some individual to inspire them one day – it might well shatter them – but it will alter their life and they will emerge the better for it.
They could probably start with downloading Me, Earl and the Dying Girl – a witty, tragic, beautifully crafted indie movie starring Olivia Cook, Thomas Mann and RJ Cyler about a boy who finds inspiration and a girl who believes in him – well worth finding and watching…
Of cause you can find your Muse right here on Self Discovery Radio with all of our radio guests. Soon you will know if it is Trump or Clinton. Or if the head of the FBI is arrested for gerrymandering the election. I’ll leave it to our US Correspondent James Campion to decipher. But beware – we are heading for trouble… bigly.
© Sam Hawksmoor November 3rd 2016