Why do I write? In one sense it is to express myself. In yet another, it is a deeper art in which I express possibilities. The idea of ideas – possibilities beyond expressions of myself, but of things not experienced (at least) by me. These inspired thoughts are the subject of this rambling musing on muses and musings.
Inspired is a simple word – “to breath in,” “to receive spirit.” But what is the muse? Love poems come easy to me when I am in love. My lover is the best muse possible for such poetry.
But what of my darker works?
It is amazing how diverse prompts from daily life can come together to take-on lives of their own. It is evident in the writing process of my poem Saving Face. This poem was virtually spontaneous at about midnight after a long day. The night before, I had watched a film which informed it. The day was ending with news of a huge explosion in Beirut. Deja vu was my initial reaction, alongside with a cold shudder having had friends killed in the 1983 bombings there. This began a series of free associations which culminated in the poem.
So what was that process? The shock of an explosion in Beirut brought about memories of the young men killed there in the 80s. This in turn led to the patriotism they (we) felt about service. It made the loss seem greater. Then the realisation, that in 2020 we send our young women to war and its horrors, as well as our “boys.” Memories of my own service, and of the iconic image from Apocalypse Now of a camouflage-painted face became an image of the “face of war.” The idea of war as a political agenda, and of politicians needing to “save face,” brought to mind Saving Private Ryan. Who then would save these young faces of today – this new generation of “camouflage faces?”
But the process does not end with the dual meaning of “saving face.” The structure itself had its muse. That inspiration was the aforementioned film watched the day before – Blade Runner 2049, Face, Face, Face.
So why do I write? I write to sort the bombardment of ideas into something tangible, something less chaotic. I write to give the struggling ideas dome rest and peace.
I will revisit the Muse musings soon, and how love and loss, and new love inspire me.