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Sunday, April 23, 2023

Should you have a Muse?

Muses are greatly sought after, for sure, and often as though they are divinely sent. But should you lean on them? What is it about them that makes them so inspiring?

A muse is an abundant source of inspiration to artists. Typically a person. Dead or alive, near or far. This person, by what they do and say, or by their mere existence and what they are, is able to trigger our thoughts and feelings as well as our imaginations and our senses to an extent that propels us into making art - at least if we’re not closed off to it and resisting it.

Muses can come into your life when you least expect them and elude you while you most yearn for them. For some, few can be their muse. A seemingly once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. For others, it doesn’t take so much. Cherished despite regularity. This is because it is not only on the muse to be inspiring, but also on the artist to be inspired. And being easily inspired can be a blessing (if given appropriate outlets and successfully making the best of it) and a curse (if failing to properly manage and regulate it, frequently knocked off course by it).

The effects of a muse are similar to those of drugs and at times also as powerful. They may energize you, wake you, lift you, relax you, take you on a trip, open your mind, expand your horizons, clarify or distort your views, and more. And it can be anywhere from a picnic to a roller coaster ride. It may be addictive and you may be at the mercy of it. They can take a hold of you and leave you desperately craving for more.

Regardless, muses aren’t necessarily responsible for you and your state. They rarely are. Unless it is someone that is consciously and intentionally manipulating you for their gain or moving you for yours, it is mostly on you what happens. Some may not even realize that they are somebody’s muse. And some would rather not be. So consent plays a role here, too. Are they okay serving as inspiration in such a manner? And if so, are you being considerate enough?

There are pitfalls to avoid. Besides extreme and severe obsession and dependence, idolizing and pedestaling can be troublesome for all involved. Remember, they are still people. They will have flaws and shortcomings. They may not match your idealization of them. And they are not here solely to please you. Furthermore, your art could suffer if closely tied to an unfavorable muse, one that doesn’t quite align with your path and potential or that you have outgrown. Sometimes, you must exercise some detachment and settle for other means of inspiration.