We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mnemosyne was impregnated by Zeus for nine consecutive nights, thus producing the nine muses. Among other things, she was a goddess of memory.
The number of muses increased over time from the original three. Poetic license and creeping specialization. I had been looking up Euterpe, the muse of music and of lyric poetry, called "the giver of delight." The muse of song, but got sidetracked on the general topic of the Muses.
I posted briefly on inspiration the other day, and we had "Sing, Goddess..." recently. It remains fascinating to me that our mental creations seem to come from "elsewhere," to the extent that we can imagine that they come from a supernatural source.
In my line of work, we say that such things come from the "preconscious" or the "unconscious," but that's not much different from saying they are gifts of a Muse.
Whenever a preacher says "May the words of my mouth, and the thoughts and meditations of my heart, be acceptable to You," he or she is echoing the classical plea to the Muses. Our civilization remains a Greek one.
I've written humor columns for many years -- 750 or so words -- and I find that they spring nearly full blown into my mind, particularly when I'm out walking in the evening. Not every word is in place, of course, but most of it is there.
And it came from where?
I think of this phenomenon as a champagne stem, the bubbles rising spontaneously from somewhere below into the conscious mind. It has always been this way.
I have learned enough technique and discipline over the years that I can write on anything, but that is often mechanical. My accountant once said, write something funny about accounting. Huh? No, that would be the conscious mind dictating, and it wouldn't work. And, well, it's accounting.
If all writers are like this, it must explain to some extent the affinity writers have for alcohol, for at some point there is a need to just shut off this flow of words, and alcohol does it, and that's not a good thing.
Please write more on this -- oh, and also on aphids. And stop showing off your beautiful gardens, whichever one of you is doing that. It's just not fair to those of us who are botanically challenged. Sheesh
What a nice description, Terry. I agree with what you say and will add that the necessary component of creativity in storytelling is an imperative. The writing is a skill, but the ability to see common events of life and to let your mind make associations so that in telling/creating the story, you can embellish and enhance it with details some people simply don't notice. There is an art to telling stories, and you can tell who has it and who doesn't by listening to people. The funniest stories are those that encompass the extraneous observations that make almost anything funny. I don't mean to suggest for a minute that someone who cannot tell a story is lacking: They just have a more linear mind and don't see the world in metaphor. There is some biology to it as our minds tend to function so differently. Math eludes me, but I taught English for twenty years and not once had to make plans or write down what I wanted to say. It just came out of me, and I don't recall once ever pausing to wonder what to do next. For four years, I tucked my son into bed and sat in a rocking chair and told stories about a group of forest animals. Sometimes I would talk for an hour as my son listened enraptured by the escapades of the 'gang', and it never occurred to me that what I did was anything special. I just told stories, and needed no muse to inspire me. The words just came from life and my mind's cinematic vision of it.
I envy you writing a humor column. I've been told many times I should do that or write a book, but I can't. I can to a single audience, but freeze up thinking of writing to an unknown audience. What a waste because I have stories to last a lifetime. Hats off to you!