Friday, December 30, 2011

The Constipated Muse

My hubby and I ran away from home for Christmas: no cell service, no internet, no family, no stress. Our daughter went to stay with her dad for the holiday, granting us four days of nothing to do but lounge. We spent three nights at a B and B in Westport.  Drinking wine in the afternoon and then walking on the beach while our dog ran across the sand was the perfect vacation to wipe away the stress of this hectic year.

When I returned home from vacation, my muse was waiting for me.

"Feel better?" she asked when I walked into my room.

Setting my overstuffed canvas suitcase on the floor, I said, "Yes. Much better. You?"

"Fine. I'm fine."

I studied her pursed lips, her folded arms, the snakes twined severely on the back of her head. "You don't look fine."

"Of course I am. It was a nice break. I'm glad you had fun."

"What did you do?"

"Nothing. I decided to stay here and read."

"Really? I thought you were going up to Alaska to play in the snow."

"I changed my mind." She reached out and brushed lint from the back of my office chair.

"Are you sure you're alright?"

She nodded.

Shaking my head, I said, "Why don't I believe you?"

"I'm fine!" she snapped, taking a step away from me.

"Okay, you're fine. That's why you decided to stay home all alone and read books you've already memorized rather than go play in the snow with Alaskan wolves. And that's why you're holding your body so tight those snakes look like they might break in two if you sneeze."

She sighed. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Okay." I bent down and opened my suitcase.

"You wouldn't understand. It's a muse problem."

"Alright. We don't have to talk about it."

Pacing the room, she said, "It's painful and muses find it embarrassing, so we don't talk about it, especially not to our artists."

"If you say so." I pulled out a pile of mostly dirty clothes and threw them toward the hamper.

"I doubt you would even understand, but..." She stopped pacing and stared up at the ceiling. "Sometimes, we muses can get... backed up."

"Backed up?"

"Yes. Our energy can... get stuck."

I stood. "Stuck?"

"Yes. Stuck." Her lips pressed tightly as she stared at me, then she said, "It's very uncomfortable."

"Sounds like it. But what do you mean your energy gets stuck?"

"Sometimes the creative fires burn too hot and too much inspiration flows through me without an outlet. Since you're human, and busy..." She rolled her eyes."... you couldn't possibly handle the amount of creativity that needs release, and besides, you'd burn to a crisp, or at least your brain would."

"So it's like being horny?"

"No, not at all. After a while, too much repression leads to a slowing down of the inspirational flow, which causes the creative fire to back up. The fires build, but the outlet becomes blocked. This leads to actual physical pain for the muse."

"I see." She watched me closely as if judging if I was capable of grasping something so delicate and crucial to the muse experience. I took a deep breath and said, "It's more like being constipated."

Her eyes widened. "What?"

"Constipation. You know, when you really need to go but you can't, so all you feel is cramping and gas."

"I should have known that you'd imagine trapped creative energy feeling like the need to shit."

Suppressing a smile, I held out my hands to her. "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to belittle this, I'm just trying to understand what you're going through so I can help."

"You can't help. You can only make jokes."

"I'm not laughing."

"Yes you are. You think I can't see that smile you're hiding."

"What can I do to help."

"Do you really want to help?"

"Yes, I really do."

"For starters you can finish the kids book immediately so you can finish the play. Then you can start the next play. And after that I'll tell you about the other book idea I have. I have lots of ideas to pump new energy into Medusa's Muse, including a new website and e-books. " She paced the room again. "Your workshop is ready to go forward and I have lots of thoughts on how and where to present the material. Also, you seem really excited about writing for kids, so I have several more possible subjects. And "Miranda" is waiting for you to finish, but I'm not sure that's where your passion lies anymore. Don't forget Burying Mama. You should just send it out into the wild again and see what happens." She whirled around to face me, her eyes shining. "Plus those two short stories are simply stellar, but of course need polish."

I sat down, suddenly feeling tired. "No wonder you're constipated."

Stamping her foot, she yelled, "I am not constipated!"

"I know, I know... I'm sorry. You have too many ideas for one artist. It's a big problem. I'm sorry I can't get all of your ideas done."

She gracefully dropped to the floor and sat with her legs criss-crossed. After a moment of silence, she said, "It's not your fault. It's mine. I push too hard. I want too much. Everything in the world inspires me, but the whole world is too full. That's why I stayed here in your room reading books I've already read a thousand times. I don't need any more ideas." She held her stomach tightly. "Ouch."

You need a good laxative, I thought, but decided it wise to keep my mouth shut. "I'll try to finish the kids book this week, if that will help."

"Thank you." She smiled at me. "But no pressure. Like I said, this is my fault. The creative flow is out of balance because I'm out of balance. It's time for me to focus, and help you focus, until we're both in harmony with the work.  It just takes time."

Time. That seems to be the biggest problem of all.

1 comment:

Shannon Lawrence said...

Aw, my muse understands. So many ideas, so little time. I hope the break was a good one and things start running smoothly again.