Happy Labor Day, ya’ll ! This month here at Writing Prompts, we are writing about Mythology and Folklore. Quite an exciting topic, wouldn’t you say? I think it’s partly because although Mythology contains the word “myth”, its connotation gives voice to unknown mysteries and inner longings to know about ancient civilizations. Why? Not just because old stuff is cool, but because sifting through history and what we can pull from the culture, philosophy, and traditions of past societies, helps us make sense of our own.
When I was in 7th grade, I was introduced to Homer’s The Odyssey. The tales of brave Odysseus strummed new chords of my girlish imagination. Do you recall the first time you encountered a one-eyed Cyclops? I can remember being mystified by a love-sick Calypso. Countless terrible beasts of land and of sea, brought me daring new stimuli with which to associate the word “adventure”.
Isn’t it funny what we latch on to? I wasn’t so much interested in the stories of the gods, as to me, none of the tales could hold a candle to the God who sits on the throne of my heart. But one thing was for certain, I was mesmerized by the muses. The Mosasi were goddesses in their own right. The experts might challenge me on this. At any rate, I was intrigued because they were once thought to be the bearers of inspiration. Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania; these nine daughters of Zeus were said to be lords over the arts.
When our class took the exam on all we could remember about Odysseus and his journey, I am proud to announce that I passed with flying colors! By that time in my life, I had also learned what it took for me to get in “creative mode,” which I soon discovered could also be referred to as “unleashing my inner muse.”
I recently watched a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, share her thoughts on what these muses have to do with our creativity. Gilbert comes from the stance that there is far too much pressure placed on artists to conceive perfection in their work. She discusses the great tragedy behind relying solely upon ones creative genius, as many artists often meet their demise under this great weight. This idea of divine support, relieves not only fears of failure and rejection, but also obliterates any shred of arrogance. Do you employ some inner muse to accomplish your greatest work? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time,