“O! For a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.” William Shakespeare (from The Painter’s Keys)
Much has been written and will continue to be written on what the muse is or isn’t. Do all artists have one? Is it a person? A place? A thing? An idea? Many writers on art, who do not think of themselves as artists, tend to view the muse as a person. This or that person is the muse for this or that artist. If an artist has a love interest, the love interest is thought to be the muse. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. The muse is far more and far less defined than anything physically describable.
The Wall Street Journal has an article titled, “Where have all the muses gone?” by Lee Siegel with a detailed account of the “so-called” muses of many famous artists through out the centuries. Siegel makes a very enlightening statement midway through the article, “The original muse could not of been further from an exemplar of style. Her function was not to inspire imitation but to create new insights and new artistic forms. She was effectively invisible, a gust of divine wind that blew through the human vessel lucky enough to be graced by her attention.”
Perhaps, the muse is not the actual person, place, thing or idea. Perhaps, the muse is the “Divine Wind” blowing through what is the designated muse. The real muse is the inspiration itself. The Divine Wind has highlighted the object with an aura of inspiration that draws like a magnet. The Divine Wind is an amorphous thing explaining why some artists seem to flit from muse to muse gaining a reputation of fickleness. What appears to be fickleness may merely be the following of the Divine Wind.
The Divine Wind for some artists may stay in one place or on one person for a lifetime. To others it may blow steady in many directions. The important point for artists is to remain open and aware. The muse can’t be pinned down. To place the muse label on any physical form is to miss the point. The nebulous muse is everywhere. All that’s needed is a bit of a windcatcher.