Invocation to the Muses
Muses, I praise thee.
Grant me the vision to craft words of power that sear into the mind’s eye.
Let my ears hear words that are true and pure.
Let my inspiration be a mighty steed that carries me forward.
I pledge to you that I shall fight Resistance and strive to bring glory to the tales you would have me tell.
Let the work begin.
(Howard Andrew Jones)
Homer launches the Odyssey with an invocation to the Muses. There are many poets who make the call, Virgil in The Aeneid, Milton in Paradise Lost and Blake in To The Muses. This last is a lamenting of the missing muses with Blake wondering
“How have you left the ancient love
That bards of old enjoy’d in you!”
Author Howard Andrew Jones has penned his own invocation. His prayer to the muses helps him transition to the writing state and acknowledge his own creative spirit.
“The odd thing is that once I say the prayer, I feel like the matters I’m about to craft are more serious…”
Day 7 of the Your Turn Challenge poses the question what are you taking with you from this challenge? I’ve tried to honour my recent crafting, to take it seriously in the spirit of Howard Andrew Jones. So I’ve waded past some of the obvious things such as a blogging space, seven blog entries, and a rising up and completion of the challenge. Instead I’ve thought about why it is that I have a knowing that I can be beyond Resistance and write creatively, where in recent years (okay, the recent past 20 years) I couldn’t or wouldn’t, or not very much and not with completion.
After writing every day for seven days with satisfaction I now find that there’s a little fire stoked deep inside. It is a fire of contentment and trusting and beside it is my inner author in the studio of my soul, pen poised over the inkwell, brow wrinkled with contemplation.
“There are apartments in the soul which have a glorious outlook; from whose windows you can see across the river of death, and into the shining city beyond; but how often are these neglected for the lower ones, which have earthward-looking windows…Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
(Henry Ward Beecher)
I love windows and doors. Writing helps me to build them, to peer through them, to slam them and shatter them, to create worlds and beings beyond them. I am sure that my writing reflects what I see through the windows of this world (which can I just say can be quite marvelous and worthy of a writer’s attention, and furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with an earthward looking window) and the worlds of my mind and of other authors. I am indeed influenced by my own nature, yet I am also very touched by the nature of others.
I’ve got some really nice, interchangeable windows and doors on my inner studio and I’m learning to leave them open a little more and not lock them shut to protect from writer’s anxiety. This is getting easier for two reasons.
Firstly, I respect the nature of others. I don’t expect everyone to like what I write or even have an interest in it. I write creatively for enjoyment, to provoke, to invite, to capture the reader who wishes to be captured. Secondly, I draw on the nature of others, including in the form of the muse.
When in want of a muse, try not to encounter one with a poker face unless a store mannequin is what you are after. They are not going to give much away that can inspire or excite or perplex or challenge the author. They are not going to reveal truths or suggest that you reveal yours. They probably won’t lessen or remove your anxiety about creating and certainly they won’t heighten your work.
I didn’t deliberately seek out a muse for my writing during the Your Turn Challenge, my muse was just there, and it made a difference. There was extra purpose there too, underpinning the work, using it as vehicle.
The Building Bridges citizen lead initiative has featured in each of my blog entries over the past week. Because it matters. Because it’s an invitation. An invitation extended to each of you to engage in whatever way you choose to…even if it’s just to “Warm your hands with the invisible fire of hope!!!”
This invitation was found on a New York street recently by my muse and appears in his blog post about striving. My muse does not have a poker face, and I think you’ll appreciate this when you read his invitation for us to strive together. It will only take a moment and you can read Strove here.
Thank you Matt for being my muse this week, in gratitude a small gift to you:
My muse does not have a poker face
His stories play, messages on his body cinematically
His emotion knocks gently on your attention
His mind dances quickly and reaches for his mouth
You can see it in his eyes
The ideas and thoughts sailing about
My muse lends me genius
Calls out my craft, malleable lead to words alchemically
His erudition raises and flows to my creation
His eyes wise and wide widen the path
You can feel it in his feet
The thread of narrative bridging all doubt
My muse does not have a poker face
His earnest love, carried the impossible heroically
His motivation a soulful ache in my perception.