There’s always been this legend, mythology, or wishful thinking even, around The Muses. Fathered by Zeus and born of the personification of memory, there were nine Muses in the ancient Greek version of pop-culture.
The Muses were goddesses and water nymphs. Some ancient Greeks (ancient Geeks?) considered them to be primordial deities – children of Titans (Uranus and Gaea).
The nine Muses delivered inspiration like hot pizza. They covered all the creative bases, literature, art, music, science, mathematics, geography, and like totally drama.
Poets like Homer invoked them at the beginning of epic poems. Later epic poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge invoked opium.
Homer’s contemporary, Hesiod, said there were nine Muses. Mostly focused on poetry (I wonder why a poet came to that conclusion?) According to the Roman scholar, Varro, there were only three; Melete (Practice), Mneme (memory), and Aoide (song).
Varro sounds like a straight-talking guy, even if he was a miserable sod.
The number of guests at dinner should not be less than the number of the Graces nor exceed that of the Muses, i.e., it should begin with three and stop at nine.
If nothing else, this quote indicates that Varro didn’t have more than 3 friends and therefore changed the number of Muses to make his soul-destroying dinner parties less awkward.
It is also said that King Pierus of Macedon named his nine daughters after the Muses. Because in ancient stories, kings are known for doing things that piss-gods-off. Seriously, you never hear of an ancient Greek farmer calling his kids Zeus, Apollo, and Uranus (still the funniest word the Greeks ever gave us).
The princesses were turned into magpies. No I don’t know why magpies as opposed to say, swallows. Gods move in mysterious ways.
In true visual movie style – we now cut to Present Day.
Goddesses are harder to come by these days (unlike opiates). So, finding someone to fill in the role of Muse can be challenging. Unless you are living the tortured artist trope, you probably have at least one person who loves your poetry, your Twilight fan-fiction, your finger-paintings, and that song you wrote about how your love is like a tea-towel.
If you have a Muse in your life. Treasure that person. I hit the jackpot, because I married my muse. Damaris is hard to explain. I mean, she’s a perfectly normal and wonderful human being – obviously. The hard to explain bit is a bit…. hard to explain.
Damaris generates whimsy. She has a sense of humour that often leaves me gasping for air having laughed so hard I almost collapse.
She also has a sharp mind. She is good at puzzles, and at their core, most stories are puzzles. You are presented with a situation where questions are asked. Conflict arises and drives the plot – questions are resolved by the end and everyone feels smug for having worked it out by page 120 (that’s position 2347 of 4693 for you Kindle users who have never read an actual book with page numbers).
Sometimes I find myself with an idea, that has a blockage. It’s an obstacle that is locking a story down. I can’t write it because it’s just not hanging right. It’s the creative equivalent of being OCD and trying to hang a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight on the wall.
At times like that, I go to Damaris and I say, “Hon, this is the scenario. This is the problem.”
She immediately tells me the solution. It can be as simple as two words. Like, “He’s married.” Or, “Corn chips.” Sometimes she asks the right questions, like; “Why is the secret agent wearing lingerie to the PTA meeting?”
I love Damaris. She’s as close as an atheist like me can come to worshiping anything and as a Muse, she is the best.