Monday, June 20, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Where the Muses Be

It soothes the artist to think all his ideas came from some person, some Muse. He can’t see it as himself, because the artist isn’t a person. He’s a gaping wound, or a hungry shell, or a mimic of real life, or an adherent to formulas and trends, or a disappointing son. In any case, he experiences himself as a conduit for make-believe. Fantasy and verisimilitude pour out of him, as a childhood reflex, and then as a learned unconscious behavior for the adult. The more he pays attention, the less he understands how it works.

He’s grateful to learn how to get it to work at all, which returns him to the origin. The Muse, that real person in the sky that slips him things to write. It’s an old idea, because people have had no clue why they’re good at things for a good long time.

The artist may be surprised to learn most of his ideas are jerry-rigged memories, experiences filtered or exact, weighed out in uneven proportions, his art imitating art, and sometimes life. His father’s boomerang collection crops up in the robot war story, and his second girlfriend’s hips in a nursery rhyme. No reader can recognize these origins. Often, the artist doesn’t either. He’s guided by a singular notion of a man bleeding ideas from a foreign vein. It focuses him, just as it did all the people who thought it before. It’s the one idea he’s entirely irresponsible for creating.

Where did we get this idea? It’s the one thing the Muse actually gave him. She figured, it was all he needed.


  1. Does this mean that my Jezebel and Mr Fluffy aren't real?

  2. This gave me tingles. An instant favorite.

  3. I loved this! Absolutely and completely.

  4. Ah, so true. I think we personalize our imaginations because they can be so capricious at times. I know Olga ain't for real, but it sure can seem like she's crackin' the whip when I have to get that story out of my head.

  5. I smiled when I read this, because it rang so true and I remembered how my mind throws out ideas and for me and after writing them I realise they are part of my own memories - like my last flash, what her father says to her "you look just like your mother did on her wedding day" after I wrote that I remembered that's what my own father said to me.



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