I’ve been coping with my muse(s) for years. I’m not certain how many I have. I may have one muse with shape-shifting skills and multiple personalities, or a horde with very distinct skill sets and ideas. I suspect my muses are both of these ideas.
Muse(s) can be fickle. Having employed some mechanisms that helped me get along with my muse(s), I thought I’d compile some brief, general guidelines. These are recorded to help me in the future, but since I’m typing them up, I thought sharing them might help others when they’re dealing with their muse(s).
- Shelter your muse(s) like kittens, puppies, kits, and fledglings. They’re cute, tender, and impressionable, and need to be fed, protected, and nurtured. They depend on you for everything.
- It helps to act like you’re handling a fourteenth-century Ming dynasty vase when you’re conversing with your muse(s). They’re rare, fragile, and irreplaceable.
- Regard your muse(s) like they’re famous geniuses such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Stephen Hawking, Jackson Pollock, Maya Angelou, or Frank Lloyd Wright. They have a lot to offer, and you should pay attention.
- Behave with your muse(s) as you would with family that you enjoy having around, and respect and interact with your muse(s) as you do with family that you must love because they’re family, but you have no idea why they do the things that they do.
- Follow your muse(s) like they’re a famous performer, like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Beyonce, or Kanye West, or a movie star like Jimmy Stewart, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Dwight Johnson, Jerry Lewis, Casey Affleck, or Bruce Campbell.
- Care for your muse(s) like a favorite elderly pet who seems to be fading.
- Obey your muse(s) like you’re a child and they’re your parent(s).
- Nurture, protect, and teach your muse(s) like you’re their parent(s) and they’re your child, perhaps a two-year-old, or a sixteen-year-old. They could be both from moment to moment. Part of the fun is understanding which one they are.
- Interact with your muse(s) like they’ve been convicted of being a serial killer who escaped from prison and is standing in your bedroom.
- React to your muse(s) like they’re the monsters under your bed. You’re not sure if they’re real, but you keep hearing noises, and it’s really, really dark.
- Embrace your muse(s) like a bolt of lightning during a thunderstorm. It can be painful and illuminating, but rewarding, if you survive.
- Finally, have fun with your muse(s). Pretend that you’re all celebrating graduating high-school and becoming an adult by getting drunk.
Employing these simple strategies have rewarded me with the same sort of wonderful relationship that I have with a stranger that I bump into at a parade. With a little observation and effort, you can have the same kind of relationship.