You’ve heard those stories, right? It’s mine as well. Most of my young life, I’ve read I could be a muse at best. What if I don’t want to stay one? What if I come to realize that position can only give me a restraining passivity and empty adoration, while I don’t desire to be a cold statue, but an alive and kicking humane person?
The muse’s story is not her own, so I refuse to wish to be one. I’ll find my own inspiration in the richness and the beauty of this planet’s surface, the sky above it and the touch of its grounds that penetrate further, of our minds and dreams and sentiments.
Now, I know and read better. I can make my own story with just as burning enthusiasm.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a muse, quite the opposite, to be inspiring is a privilege. Nevertheless, I believe it’s wrong to be reduced to one, to shrink one’s existence to a dependence on the other.
That’s why I find there’s something uncanny about being an eager reader of classics as a young girl. You know it. You come across all these characters, building their personalities and living fearlessly or somehow profoundly and if you don’t pay enough attention, you only get to know the men.
It’s not really that there isn’t any strong female characters. Still, they aren’t there to tell their own story, but generally to be one of the pillars on someone else’s path. It takes some conscious alertness to what you choose to read next, willingness to search and change the pattern. It’s not hard, though. Not at all.
My reading-life challenge was the usual, I guess. After Hermann Hesse and André Gide, there came the Beats, the ultimate idols of zealous life and autonomous nature. A woman as a muse, angelic or demonic one, as an absence and ignorance, and then… What exactly is she supposed to be? Undemanding fervent lover, abandoned wife, untalented lost daughter, locked up mad or endlessly patient mother, their source of pleasure or a mirror, a platform to bounce off ideas, if at all…
What about the meaningfulness and individuality, embeddedness of her own voice in its creativity? What about her own impulsive yearnings for the road and the experiences?
Of course, it’s there. Always has been. Getting louder like a Janis Joplin’s roar in its climax.
So, I’m assigning to the other end of the tradition. Reading, writing, traveling – living.