The Muses


It is NaBloPoMo time. National Blog Posting Month. And it seems the rules of the game are pretty simple. Blog every day. For the next 30 days of November. 

The one rule of the game might be simple but often the simplest of things are the most challenging. 

Writing every single day for a month would mean coming up with a new, fresh idea to write something substantial every day. 

But what is life without a random challenge here or there right?

Right. 

So we begin. 

The first thing that comes to my mind is a blank sheet of white paper with the nib of a pen poised over it, head tilted to a fifteen degree angle and eyes with a faraway look in them. The perfect image of a writer in deep thought. Mulling over ideas. Waiting for the elusive muse to strike. And then while thinking of the Muses, an idea struck me. Or perhaps it really were the Muses at work. 

The grand idea was to give a Greek twist to the NaBloPoMo challenge. The effort would be to write about a Greek tale, myth, fact or fiction in every piece that I would strive to post every day of this beautiful November month. 

So what better way to begin on this auspicious occasion than to start by writing about the Muses. 

In Greek mythology, the Muses were known as the inspiration for literature, poetry, music, and arts in general. They were considered the origin of the oral knowledge and folklore that had been passed down from bard to bard in the form of epic poems and myths. 

The Muses were also the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the personification of ‘memory’). Each Muse was attributed with a specialty. For instance, Erato was the goddess of love poetry, Thalia of comedy, Urania of astronomy, and Calliope of epic poetry. As the story goes, Zeus charmed and then slept with Mnemosyne on nine consecutive nights, the results of which were the birth of the Nine Muses. They were subsequently taught by God Apollo who observed and strengthened their artistic capabilities. 

“Sing to me oh Muse” was the popular refrain used by writers and poets for invoking the Nine Muses when they were about to embark on the creation of a literary piece. The invocation and the formal blessings sought were a testimony to the power of the myth that the muses themselves had been. 

Homer asks the Muses in Iliad and in the Odyssey to help him narrate the story in the most proper way. Renaissance artists have also dedicated their works of creation to the Muses and conceded to the importance of invoking their blessings for the sake of creative inspiration. 

At the heart of this myth is the criticality of inspiration, creativity, and creation in the field of arts, whether it be to narrate a story, recite a lyric or to make a painting. 

Many a writer down the ages must have sat in that tower, garret, library, or room and upon the sight of a blank page mentally invoked the Muses to infuse them with the power to create. Create fiction, poetry or prose that could engage and disengage at the same time. Create something that could be bookmarked for posterity into the hallowed halls of literary and artistic fame. And create they did. 

 

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