2010-04-22 / Sam Bari

A muse is rarely amusing and is not a musing

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

Most of us consider a thing or event that is entertaining, engaging or witty to be amusing. Supposedly designed to embrace a modicum of happiness, the origins of the word have little to do with fun.

The root word, “muse,” has disputed beginnings. If we believe Greco-Roman religion and myth, a muse was any of a group of nine sister goddesses who were daughters of the great Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory.

The muses are purported to preside over the arts and sciences.

However, the Roman scholar Varro claimed there were only three muses. One was born from the movement of water, another made sound by striking air and a third could only be found in the human voice.

The Greco-Roman source is more traditionally accepted.

According to the pundits of Oxford Dictionary fame, the word has evolved. Its modern use refers to a muse as a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. Allegedly, all who pursue creative endeavors as a career path have one.

If my muse inherited her talents from the egomaniacal narcissist, Zeus, and the goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, I have serious doubts about the dependability of her abilities.

Memory is subjective, selective and dependent on inherent talent. If genealogy is involved, memory is likely less than trustworthy. And everyone knows that Zeus was a study in absolute power gone mad.

Hmmm...describes my muse perfectly.

She is never around when I need her. She gives dubious advice, often obfuscated in riddles and incomplete thoughts. The woman is fiercely independent, haunts my dreams and taunts me with snippets of possibly good concepts that are as evasive as she is real.

She is a true vixen at best.

I know that she wants to be perceived as my alter ego. She likes to fill in the blanks with nonsense and gibberish when my thinking is skewed or my ideas are weak. I have never actually seen her, even in my dreams. She likes to stand behind me and look over my shoulder. Then, she whispers in my ear as if she were a confidant.

Once in a while, I will see her shadow or a weak reflection in a dream. However, whenever I try to recall the image, it is foggy at best, and I can hear her demonic laugh because she knows she has frustrated me again.

I am convinced that she has sabotaged a few of my past relationships by possessing their minds. She embodied herself in their flesh to elicit my trust and take advantage of my unquestioned faith in the woman with whom I was involved.

Several times, when my muse was shrouded in her disguise, just when she thought she had me, I came to my senses and called her out. She would then make an immediate exit and leave me standing alone with the new love of my life, who looked at me as if I were completely insane.

My muse is a jealous wench, and she loves to use her devious antics to ruin my life.

I want a modern muse, one like Sarah Boden, music editor of the Observer, a British music magazine, described in her article, “10 Great Muses.”

Why can’t I have a muse like Gwyneth Paltrow, who inspired Chris Martin of Coldplay, or Sara Lowndes, who was one of Dylan’s greatest influences?

Boden also named Yoko Ono as one of the top 10.

I could do without that.

However, Patti Boyd, who was a muse for both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, sounds like fun.

So many times, artists – particularly male artists – are depicted as “wallowing in the notion of lone wolf heroism.” I do not think that image is the least bit appealing.

I hate suffering.

I want a muse who will take the pressure off and do her job.

Like today, for instance: Where was my muse? Did she come up with a column idea? No – she did not! If I listened to her, I would be writing about the advantages of fertilizing plastic plants, or I would try to convince the world that cauliflower worship was the path to weight loss, wealth and attractive offspring.

She is evil, conniving and useless, and I want a new one.

Trying to find a good muse is difficult at best when we live in a system we can’t understand.

Return to top