I find myself an observer of the shout box on Elliquiy, my favorite adult role-playing site, more often than a participant. It’s generally a quick moving dialogue of people chatting away. The other day, I watched a snippet of conversation where someone was talking about going off to flog their muse or some such. As such things usually happen, I found myself musing on the word as well as the concept.

Many writer’s speak casually of their relationship with their muse, tossing out the word as an all-around excuse for getting nothing written. They speak of it with derision, as something to be wrestled with and controlled, and as if the muse was responsible for doing the writing.

I’ve never had a close personal relationship with what I could call “my muse.” And, until recently, I never thought of putting a name or shape to a muse and calling it my own. Certainly I’ve had times where I have felt more inclined to write than others and done the same sort of lackluster blaming. “My muse has abandoned me and I can’t write!” I have been filled with ennui of a sort that keeps me from writing, but, it hardly seems fair to blame my shadowy excuse of a muse for it let alone feel so indignant that I should drag the poor thing out from its hiding place in order to punish it for my lack.

My schooling ended a long time ago, so my recollection of the Greek Muses was pretty well…nonexistent. So I started with a quick refresher of the original muses. There were nine daughters of Zeuss and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. I could only name one of them off the top of my head—Calliope. It appears that I am not well favored by their mother goddess. You’d think that, since I write in the erotic genre, I would have known that Eratus (pictured to the left in a lovely Mucha image)is another muse. Plato designated a 10th muse, Sappho, later on in history.

We use the term muse to denote those who bring inspiration to artists—regardless of the particular form. There are lists of various muses all over the internet. Some reflect pop music artists, others the muses of renaissance painters. Name an art form and there is likely to be a list of famous muses. Wyeth had Helga, and Lennon had Yoko. These are real, living, breathing people who, in one way or another, have inspired artists to create beauty.

Most people I know refer to a metaphorical muse, a shadowy and indistinct form that is easily blamed for a lack of inspiration. It is most likely that most of us do this because we don’t have a living, breathing person who inspires the release of creativity found within—another person who supports and helps us by their mere presence or more directly.

It surprised me when my muse entered my life recently. It wasn’t something I was looking for or expecting, and I’ve just begun to understand the influence this person is having on me in the last few days. To have a muse of one’s own is a gift, one I shall appreciate more than I will admonish. Thank you, Muse, for finding me.