Lawrence Grodecki claims there is a simple way for each of us to be a little greater.
“Behind every great man is a great woman.”
But where is this source of the woman’s greatness? Does this take us back to the concepts of ancient Greece, to all those wonderful muses? If you do a little research on muses you might conclude that it was Zeus himself who first expressed the sentiment.
Zeus understood the ultimate importance of the Muses. They were considered to be goddesses, the source of inspiration through song, dance, storytelling and more, often through poetry in the ancient times. Apparently one of them even had a divine sense of humor – Thalia – definitely my favorite, but please don’t tell the others!
It appears that John F. Kennedy must have also recognized their importance as well. In his tribute to JFK, David McCullough chose this quote from the many memorable quotes:
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”
It is interesting to note the many masculine references, while the inspirational aspects of the quote remain androgynous. Or maybe feminine? If so, perhaps the “divine feminine” prefers to remain anonymous? Is there more freedom in such a state? Must mystery remain elusive to ensure “one more word”?
If one is talking about inspiration, about the muse, the discussion is not simply about support. It goes deeper than that. It must be of truth, however expressed. Also, there is the dynamic interaction between the muse and the mused…truth at play? It’s doubtful whether this interaction – and the playfulness of it – can ever be fully understood.
The dynamics of past musing are not so easy to follow. Aside from the Greek origins, my research focuses on creative couplings over the years…how they inspire each other, use and feed off each other, cherish one another, and sometimes damn near destroy each other. So I suppose it must have something to do with love. At the very least, sex and relationships?
There are many essays and books on the likes of John and Yoko, Salvador and Gala Dali, Robert Browning and his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and many other couplings. There is much to be learned in such studies, but it’s not all about greatness. Take the Brownings, for example. When they are alone, they are simply a woman and a man, a couple enthralled with each other, even from a distance. One considers the other a genius, while the “one” is considered a siren, or muse. These lofty compliments do not seem to be attempts at ego stroking, but rather statements of awe about something greater than either of them – and it’s often very playful, expressed with endearing words at play.
There so much in this that cannot be measured, and it is not a monopoly of the creatively gifted. It’s about the special something that’s present in every precious moment – in the lives of each of us, and not just the great. This is what I write about – the indefinable mystery and our search for that wonderful aspect of life. We can call it love, something that exists freely in nature, something as fearless as butterflies.
I write a lot about butterflies, and the magic of their life without fear. From my experience that’s how muses exist, with no fear at all. In all my precious moments there has been only one thing absent…fear.
As a writer and an artist, I cherish the invisible muse, not mine to own but mine only as friend, a companion. She visits at unscheduled times, in unpredictable ways, through numerous people and events, and trying to invoke her doesn’t work as I’d like it…she’s stubborn that way. She can piss me off because she really doesn’t listen very well, yet I can’t help but adore her when she gifts me with occasional and unexpected pleasant surprises.
As you can see, this is something I’m passionate about. There have been times when I’ve been chastised about my career change, indulging myself in something I love so much: creativity. There are many who see this as irresponsible and this is partly because of work ethic…he’s having too much fun, therefore it shouldn’t be taken seriously. “What a waste,” I’ve heard.
I could blame it all on the muse, but my critics wouldn’t understand.
Now back to that opening statement, the view from behind, and all it entails. You are probably wondering whether I will ever get to the point. Nope. I wish I could but I can’t. That’s because the statement is false because of one word, one that makes a huge difference. In the way of musing there is no “in front” or “behind” or even “beside.” There is a kind of blending together. Practice how to bring “together” together and you’ll likely be a greater person for your efforts.
I would love to hear your stories, the ones where everything somehow came together. We need we.
–Photo: Diego De la Cruz/Flickr