Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Writing Workshop -- So Who is your Muse, Anyway?

So Who is your Muse, anyway?

Muse (capitalized) – Greek goddesses of inspiration; specifically in the arts

Muse (lower case) – n. to think or dream; to ponder or consider

The ancient Greek looked outside themselves and so valued the mystery of inspiration that they deified it. Eventually we ended up with not three, but nine classical muses covering all the artistic processes.

The Nine Muses

Starting out as three, by the Renaissance, nine Muses patronized the arts. They are:

What her name means
What she patronizes
Her symbol in art
the 'beautiful of speech'
Chief of the Muses; Muse of epic or heroic poetry

carries a writing tablet
the 'glorious one'
Muse of history
carries a scroll and/or books

the ‘amorous one’
Muse of love or erotic poetry, lyrics, and marriage songs

has a lyre and/or a crown of roses
the ‘well-pleasing’
Muse of music and lyric poetry

carries a flute
the ‘chanting one’
Muse of tragedy

seen with a tragic mask

Polyhymnia or Polymnia
the '[singer] of many hymns'
Muse of sacred song, oratory, lyric, singing and rhetoric

often has a pensive or thoughtful expression
the '[one who] delights in dance'
Muse of choral song and dance

pictured dancing or carrying a lyre
the 'blossoming one'
Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry

seen with a comic mask
the 'celestial one'
Muse of astronomy
Carries a staff often pointed at a celestial globe

Those are by tradition. However, individual women are often referred to by artists as their “Muse” or their “inspiration.” Only in the past few decades have female artists applied this term to men.

Muse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse. Accessed 3.26.08


Today we tend to look less to the heavens and more to the world around us for that special “something” that will spark a story or scene. There are two activities below (do them in any order; they’re numbered to keep them apart) for you to do today.

1) The Reflective Writer: set your timer for ten minutes and try to write the full time: Who/What is your Muse? Where do you get your inspiration?

2) Write a short piece (1500-3000 words) using one of the nine Muses as a jumping off point. Make her a character in the story or write a story about someone who is inspired by her.

If you enjoy the workshops and find them useful, please consider sending a donation my way. When the final product is ready to go, those who have donated each time will get a free copy of the ebook as a gift from me. I won’t dun you twice for the content. :)


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