Sing to me, oh muse, and let thine inspiration run true.
Is that how the Odyssey starts? Well it all depends on which translation you’ve read. I’ve just paraphrased several translations of the opening stanza and stuck them together to create a point. The Greek writers, when reciting their work to a crowd, would pray to the nine muses asking for their favour. While things have been hard for me recently… I’m not that desperate.
Hello everyone and welcome back to my writing blog. After an unplanned hiatus of two and a half months, I’m back. Almost.
Writing has been difficult for me during the past couple of months. It isn’t Writer’s Block as I still have the itch to write but I’ve been lacking the mental energy (and the time!) for writing. The reason behind this is that that I am working from home full time and at the end of the day I feel drained. Although I have over ten articles in various states of completion, I have been unable to edit these. While this has been irritating and down right maddening for me (like many writers I rely on the act of writing to keep myself sane) there are obviously people around the world who are enduring much worse.
I have booked several days off this month in order to resume my craft. I will return to those articles, complete them and then and continue posting until Christmas. I can’t promise that these articles will be released exactly two weeks apart but they will serve as something I can aim towards. As a quick side note, all my goals for 2020 have been scraped. Can you believe that one of those goals was “Explore more of England/The World”? No way that’s happening anytime soon.
While we’re here I want to touch upon a topic that is relevant to the above and a topic that I have wanted to discuss for some time on this website. The muses!
I wasn’t joking when I said ancient Greek writers would pray to the Muses before a public reading. The nine Muses (and the rest of the Greek Pantheon) were an accepted part of life to ancient wordsmiths. In Greek Mythology the Muses are the daughters of Mnemosyne (memory personified) and either Zeus or Apollo depending on which version you are reading. Each Muse had a certain genre or subject assigned to them.
Calliope – Epic poetry
Clio – History
Erato – Love poetry
Euterpe – Music, song and lyric poetry
Melpomene – Tragedy
Polyhymnia – Hymns
Terpsichore – Dance
Thalia – Comedy
Urania – Astronomy
Aside from delivering writers inspiration, the Muses also played a minor role in the Greek myths. They performed a singing contest at Mount Helicon which causes the Mountain to swell up with adoration. This resulted in Poseidon summoning Pegasus to trample the mountain back into shape. The Muses are also present at the singing contest between Pan and Apollo and witnesses to Apollo cursing King Midas with the ears of an ass. The Muses also had a darker side. In some versions they are responsible for the murder of Orpheus by ripping him limp from limp.
In the modern age the meaning of the word Muse has slightly changed. Now a Muse is normally a person who’s beauty inspires an artist, musician or writer. A Muse can also mean something that fills you with joy like a morning cup of tea. While I like the idea of nine beautiful Goddesses whispering ideas into my ear or drinking from the font of inspiration I don’t believe in either notion. Sorry. I can already hear the fictional Goddesses plotting their revenge.
I don’t know where my ideas come from but they don’t come from dancing Goddesses or magic potions. They’re just… there. In my head. I don’t know when they entered my head and I often don’t remember when I first started thinking about them. All I know is that suddenly, I’m turning over a new idea in my head looking at it from all angles, like I’m solving a rubik’s cube.
My mind is like a motorway, with ideas whizzing about.
Hopefully you’ll hear from me soon.