I read an article tonight in the Arts and Entertainment section on the Wall Street Journal’s website. The article was about the loss of artist’s—poets and all others—muses. The writer mentioned Zelda, Gala, Yoko, Gonne, Georgia, and Suzanne (Fitzgerald, Dali, Lennon, Yeats, Stieglitz, and Balanchine’s respectively). There were other famous muses that I remember reading about over the years, it also mentioned others that I had no knowledge of, my incomplete education, I assumed.
The journalist only mentioned male writers, and their female muses! Appalling reporting I thought, what about us women, and our muses. I have to think all women artists have their own muses, but I couldn’t think of any except for Lillian’s Dash. According to the WSJ writer, the muse-world has thinned out, and while the male artist might still have a muse, the infamous relationship between the muse and the artist is no longer. My heart ached for the romance of the past.
Apparently, artist and muse are now on equal footing. Women reject the job nowadays since the role of a muse means we become an object, and for the male artist it illustrates a lack of originality. Personally, I don’t have an issue living the role of an object, but only because I don’t think it is all that I would do, rather I had a definite idea on the job description, all passionately vivid physical connections.
I did find it depressing that only male artist’s muses have a prominent place in the Arts historical records. I thought about Dylan Thomas’ Caitlin, and then I spiraled after thinking that women normally figure unfavorably. Had I bothered to look, I might have found examples of male muses for us women, but I had to get on with writing for the night, and did not bother.
I opened my document and tabbed down to Chapter 14 where I had left off the night before with the intention of completing what I had previously started. I reread the last paragraph twice, then sipped a glass of California Merlot, and tried one more time. There would be no writing since my focus on the words in front of me was blurred, and not because of the earthy Merlot.
I felt your absence tonight; your memory pulled me into the dark-sealed-no-room-for air memory vault. As you know, lover of mine, you are my muse. Although I do not need you to write, nor does your absence from my life prevent me from writing—although it did at one time—my writing is different when we are connected. Since our relationship was unstable most of the time, I learned to harness the passion you evoke in me (then and now). I am not always successful with passion channeling, but I have learned to use writing deadlines as a tool to draw on this energy when I cannot write with passion or from my heart. The channeling is a cheap magician’s trick, and drains me. The cost is steep, but not nearly as costly when I do not write.
I miss the days when we were hungry for our mutual touch, the climbing over one another’s body with urgency, and the continuous release, but mostly the fire that would blaze in me long after. The writing was visceral.
Longing for your touch,
Your neglected lost love begs you to come back…
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