Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On the Muses Summer Vacation

…kind of Algonquin Roundtable meets Outward Bound meets St. Barts. The muses lounge around all morning in their slippers and lacy robes, a dip in the pool, followed by a pedicure and a massage. Then after a lunch of dainty finger sandwiches and iced tea, they change into some rougher clothes, take a last longing look at the shining pool and head out into the world, unseen by humans. They gather inspiration food to feed us throughout the coming year. They witness glaciers melting and puppy mills and the officer issuing parking tickets. They go by twos to refugee camps and domestic abuse shelters and brothels and they cannot help but witness hunger which paints a hole on their soul that can never close. They watch the thresher take down big rows of wheat in the breadbasket of America and they watch the rice begin to blossom on the terraced steps of China. They watch winter spring summer and fall each take root and slough off the season that came before.

The muses especially like trees in full bloom and fireworks.
They like the sound of
ocean waves and clear black starry nights. They like to hear poetry and garage bands and Gregorian chant but they also fill up with sound of lonely crying and the dull thud of the printing press as it churns out a nights worth of the morning edition.

They arrive back at the pool where they are served a lavish feast of roasts and potatoes and cheese fondue and chocolate cakes frosted with butter cream and coconut. The feast bends and stretches the table it is served upon, but the muses, your muse, never eats a single bite. They simply desire all the food in front of them and it is that craving that keeps them alive and ready to fill you with creative impulse. In fact, on the years that your muse appears to be AWOL, he probably broke down and ate the beef bourguignon and forgot why he came. Like you, food does that to a muse.

And with that ache in their belly, they prepare to leave summer vacation, return to you and spend another year inspiring you to bare your soul, dig deep into your memory and rise up with poetry, sculpture, a new aria or simply great metaphors. If you are lucky enough to be invited on the muses summer vacation you might be asked to stick around for their closing cocktail party where you often hear the muses make comments like this:

“I cannot come up with one more metaphor for love. Why can’t humans just get over this love thing? Once Elizabeth Barrett Browning counted the ways that should have been enough.”

“…so dense. I have been knocking and waving and whispering and he still thinks he is an accountant. I think I am going to have to drop an impressionist painting on his head. What does it take?”
“I am all for giving muses of poets special privileges. I would never want that job. Special people those poetry muses. All that dreck. One artist’s teen years would have me in a straight jacket.”

Perhaps you are frustrated when your muse leaves you.
Perhaps you beat your head to your keyboard begging her to return, say hail Mary’s to the blank sheet of paper, get your haircut, drink too much peppermint schnapps and puke in the toilet. Know this dear writer, your muse loves you and wants to be there for you, but sometimes she needs a little vacati
on: a chance to run in daisy fields and drink absinthe by a roaring fire. Take a lesson from the lowly muse.

--Amy for the Poplar Grove Muse


  1. I'm so glad you posted this. I was going to ask for a copy. I love this piece. So whimsical! MKP

  2. Loved hearing this...loved reading it.