Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Therapeutic Muse — what would Freud think?

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With this blog I try to spark inspiration, that is, the muse. My days have been gray lately, and my Muse has taken to hiding out in the shadows. I think ebbing creative energy caused by real life challenges is something all artists go through at some point. We’ve all heard about the tortured, depressed artists who, despite whatever mental, physical, or emotional health issues they endured, created works we still consider genius.

Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters, and I love his iris paintings. Edgar Allen Poe’s works are dark, but so effective at finding the fears we all have within. There are countless others I won’t even attempt to list, but mostly because I don’t know much of their history. Although I do wonder what the heck Salvador Dali was on when I see his art.

Art is therapeutic. We as writers know this, as many of us journal in great part to try to come to terms with or exorcise the bits of life that bring us down. And that brings me back around to my Muse. Capitalized because I’m referring to my main mental inspirational image as opposed to something that just sparks the need to write down a quick description or short scene before it fades.

When my Muse decides to go on walkabout because my creative spark has dimmed due to real life situations, I write scenes where he either chastises me for being out of my creative energy field, or I call his ass back from wherever he’s up and gone to and scold him for running off. And it works. It’s like the very act of writing through a confrontation with him allows me to address or at least expose some of the things weighing my spirit, and has the effect of weakening their grip on me.

The next time you feel your creative energy has leached away, take a few minutes to focus on your own personal Muse. Write him or her or it a letter, or create a scene where the Muse either scolds you for letting things sap your creative energy, or you scold the Muse for going AWOL. I’ve learned doing this accomplishes a couple things. One, it’s a way to release the frustration and darker emotions that are infringing on my inspiration. It’s also a way to reel that Muse back into the room, because as I’ve said before, the very act of writing lures the Muse to our side.

And it doesn’t hurt to imagine yourself in whatever calming setting you prefer when you confront your Muse. Better yet, actually be in that place when you write it. I just wish Hawaii was closer to MN!

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, four chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

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