A Prayer to the Muse

I wrote in The War of Art about my old friend and mentor, Paul Rink. When I lived in Northern California years ago, I used to have coffee every morning with Paul in his camper, “Moby Dick.”

Paul was a writer. He was about thirty years older than I. Learning from Paul was one of the great experiences of my young life. Paul would turn me on to writers I’d never heard of, lecture me on the evils of the marketplace, and tell me stories about Steinbeck and Henry Miller, both of whom he knew.

But the best thing Paul did for me was he introduced me to the idea of the Muses. I had never taken such stuff seriously, but during those years when I was alone all day doing nothing but trying to learn to write, the idea of a mysterious force beyond the material plane began to make a lot of sense. That was all I was doing, day after day, week after week—trying to access the goddess.

Paul had a prayer that he said every morning before he started to work. 

“It’s the Invocation of the Muse, from the very beginning of Homer’s Odyssey, the T.E. Lawrence translation. I’ll type it out so you’ll have it.”

I still have that page that Paul banged out for me on his manual Remington atop the little formica tabletop in the back of his camper. Here’s a photo.

My Prayer to the Muse, still hanging in there

The typing is so faded it’s barely legible. You can see where the page has disintegrated into four parts. Sometimes wind will blow the parts off my desk. I can’t tell when I put them back together if I’m even getting them in the right order.

I say this prayer myself every morning before I sit down to work, just like Paul did.

            O divine Poesy!

            Goddess, daughter of Zeus,

            Sustain for me this song of the various-minded man,

            who, after he had plundered the innermost citadel

            of hallowed Troy, was made to stray grievously

about the coasts of men,

            the sport of their customs, good and bad,

            while his heart, through all the seafaring,

            ached with an agony to redeem himself 

            and bring his company safe home.

            Vain hope! For them! For his fellows he strove in vain.

            By their own witlessness, they were cast aside.

            To destroy for meat the oxen of the most exalted Sun,

            wherefore the sun god blotted out the day of their return.

            Make this tale live for us in all its many bearings, O Muse!

A couple of days ago I exchanged emails with a lady named Francesca Mihok. She told me that her mother had translated and written out the identical prayer, but in Greek, on brown mailing wrappers that Francesca taped together and kept on her wall as a source of connection to her mom. 

Francesca’s Prayer, translated and written out by her mother

“I carried this hanging with me,” Francesca wrote, “not knowing what it said till I met a university student who was studying Ancient Greek and she said it was the opening to the Odyssey. I am floored!”

More on this prayer and its meaning in the coming weeks.

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45 Comments

  1. MAKOWSKI on May 26, 2021 at 5:28 am

    Steve, just have to say I was thrilled to see “The Legend Of Bagger Vance” get a big mention at the end of the PGA on Sunday. Did you see it? It was a thrilling win by Phil. All the fans were on the course at the end. It was just one of those awesome moments. I once rode a hot air balloon over Phil’s house out in California, not intentionally, but that’s another story.
    Steve, you’re the best, love how you come up with something great for us every Wednesday!

    • Joe on May 26, 2021 at 10:20 am

      Yeah, that was great to see Bagger Vance getting recognized. I know it happens frequently when books are interpreted for the screen, but the novel was head and shoulders above the film.

  2. A reader on May 26, 2021 at 6:01 am

    Not to be a spoiler, but the Greek inscription is the start of the _Illliad_. It has a similar invocation of the Muse, so close enough.

    • A spoiler on May 26, 2021 at 8:13 am

      Might what to recheck your facts there. The inscription is in fact from the The Obyssey.

      You’re welcome.

      • Mike on May 26, 2021 at 8:23 am

        Spoiler,

        Respectfully, you are incorrect.

        The Greek inscription begins: Sing of the ruinous wrath, Goddess, of Achilles, son of Peleus…. (Maynin aeide, theah, peleiadeo achileos oulomenayn….) and is from the Iliad.

        Slightly different in theme than the invocation in the Odyssey, but a powerful message and an incredible piece of literature, all the same.

      • PG on May 26, 2021 at 8:29 am

        No, “A reader” is right. The one written in Greek in the photo is the Iliad: “Menin aeide Thea, peleiadeo Axileos” – “Sing, Muse, of the rage of Achilles son of Peleus…” Steve’s prayer is of course from The Odyssey.

        In the end, both are prayers to the Muse, so makes no difference of course to the larger point.

  3. Kate Stanton on May 26, 2021 at 7:42 am

    This “idea of a mysterious force beyond the material plane” is what drew me to Pressfield’s writing. I’ve often felt like I have no idea where my songs come from. I suffer from imposter syndrome. All I know is that I LOVE to sing. I’ve read about Cziksentmihalyi’s “FLOW” states, but the spiritual part of me realizes that my love of singing and creating songs comes from another place. It’s like faith or love. You may not be able to describe it in earthly words, but you know it is there. Music and art transcends the labels and boundaries we place on the human experience. Maybe this is why Resistance tries to kick our ass? I can’t wait to read more about this topic. Excellent post today.

    • Joe on May 26, 2021 at 10:52 am

      I’m with you, Kate. I’ve had some experience of deep meditation, hanging in a hammock in a forest and listening to a classical playlist (Elgar, Gorecki, Barber, Vivaldi). This sense of awe: how is possible that a bald primate could create something as reverential and transcendent as this piece of music or that one? It seemed to make more sense that Adagio for Strings or O Magnum Mysterium (or even something more modern like Caminando Por La Calle by the Gipsy Kings) existed somewhere “else,” and was midwifed into this place by a receptive composer (that is, one willing to listen to that muse or angel or spirit or deity). A gift to humanity.

      And a word to this human conceit of bickering over what words we use to try and label something that transcends language. Spirit, call it by whatever name one chooses, transcends our feeble efforts to fit it into a metaphor, from which we create a story, which we attempt to share with others by vibrating the air with throat muscles and lips. I prefer humility and openness.

      On this idea of imposter syndrome, would say you’re not alone in that. Here’s your countryman Neil Gaiman speaking about it (for about one minute, starting here: https://youtu.be/ikAb-NYkseI?t=427

      Nobody can talk you out of it. I’ll just speak my opinion that I like the sound of your voice, and that you’re good, and that you should keep going.

      • Kate Stanton on May 27, 2021 at 1:06 pm

        Wow. Thank you Joe. Thank you so much!!

  4. Barbara Newton-Holmes on May 26, 2021 at 7:48 am

    Thank you, again and again, Steve. And dear Poesy!

  5. Dick Baker on May 26, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Good stuff. Just finished ‘Man at Arms’ literally. Too soon to comment, need to sort myself out first.

  6. Lisa K on May 26, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Love the synchronicity of this! Yesterday, a memory popped up on my Facebook feed. It was from a post a friend, Richard Wagamese, had written on May 25, 2016. He wrote “…and today, I surrender my gift to Creator and ask that it be directed, channeled through me, every word, phrase, sentence guided by Her intention and then I sit and work and write and watch the Great Mystery expelled upon the page, this marvellous gift that has become my life by virtue of always remembering where it comes from and only ever claiming the discipline, dedication, sacrifice and commitment as my own. All else is Creator’s. If art is not spiritual, art suffers by our human limitations…” Sadly, Richard died March of the following year. He left behind an impressive body of work and a huge hole in the Canadian literary world. The adaptation of his novel, Indian Horse, to film, was released at TIFF six months after he passed. I saw the movie at a local theatre with an indigenous friend whose family had been scarred by the residential school debacle. When the film ended, nobody moved. Even after the credits stopped rolling. You could hear weeping throughout the theatre. Richard, had he been there, would have insisted he was just the lowly conduit of this story.

    • Joe on May 26, 2021 at 10:57 am

      Synchronicities are great, aren’t they, Lisa? And what a thing to have a story you wrote evoke such emotion, and then have the humility to acknowledge one’s self as a lowly conduit.

  7. Joe Jansen on May 26, 2021 at 8:03 am

    We were in Washington, DC, this past weekend, and took the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Art. It’s on the north side of the National Mall, just a skip and a jump from Congress. There was a sense of surreality to stand in the grass there on the Mall, looking at the west steps of the Capitol and thinking how recently this pastoral stretch had been the scene of mass delusion and sedition and violence. On this past Saturday in contrast, it was sunny and warm, scatterings and clusters of people on blankets with books in the shade of American elms, runners getting in their workouts on the gravel walkways, the food-truck aromas of gyros, shawarma, burritos, and the incessant, beckoning calliope from ice-cream trucks.

    So, Calliope…

    I tried not to take too many photos once we entered the National Gallery, trying more to be present and let the impressions filter into me, rather than taking the cheap and easy out — snapping a cell phone picture, deluding myself that I’d scroll through and admire the images later. It’s crazy, isn’t it? To be within arm’s length of a van Gogh self-portrait (an experience you can’t reproduce), and hurrying past while taking a photo (which you can find reproduced in ten thousand places).

    Nevertheless, I came across a painting that made me think of you all and this space here we inhabit on Wednesdays. “The Muses Urania and Calliope” was painted in 1634 by French artist Simon Vouet (1590-1649). We talk about the Muse so often in this space, that of course I thought of you. I took a photo, thinking I’d share it here when the opportunity presented itself.

    Sure enough, come Wednesday morning, Steve’s got it all teed up.

    Urania, the Muse of astronomy; and Calliope, the Muse of eloquence and epic poetry (note that Vouet depicts her with a copy of The Odyssey in her lap). In Bob Dylan’s song “Mother of Muses,” he wrote:

    I’m falling in love with Calliope /
    She doesn’t belong to anybody – why not give her to me? /
    She’s speaking to me, speaking with her eyes /

    Calliope… and not an ice-cream truck in sight…

    “The Muses Urania and Calliope,”
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/59vcmfkn1r4wl92/Muses%20Urania%20and%20Calliope.JPG?dl=0

    • Kate Stanton on May 26, 2021 at 8:19 am

      Great post, Joe. I haven’t listened to Dylan in awhile. Going to pull up “Mother of Muses” now 🙂

  8. Jackie Allison on May 26, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Many coincidences arose in the past few days. I read The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. On May 22nd, he mentioned your book, The War of Art. I had recently purchased The War of Art, but hadn’t read it yet. I started to read the book between my writing times and working on blog posts. As I was about to finish writing a post about one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves, “I’m too old… to do whatever it is you’re trying to get out of doing”, Phil Mickelson became the oldest person to win a golf major, on the course where The Legend of Baggar Vance was filmed. Again, maybe many coincidences, but I’ve not had such a productive writing week since I quit my job to pursue what I was put on this Earth to do. So, thanks for The War of Art. I enjoyed the kick in the butt.

  9. Brian Nelson on May 26, 2021 at 8:17 am

    “…To destroy for meat the oxen of the most exalted Sun..”
    My Classical Greek literacy is sophomoric, but that line makes me shiver, and I’m no vegan. Each time I’ve read that poem in other Pressfield writings (Quoted in War of Art? Turning Pro? Gates of Fire?) I have had this visceral reaction of shame.

    I don’t know why I see this connection, but it brings to mind the burying of talents parable (Matthew 25: 14-30) which has this admonition to the servant who buried the talent, “26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest….30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

    I’m not even sure who the Oxen of the Most Exalted Sun are–but the sin seems to be the greatest sacrilege ever committed. To destroy for meat. That is powerful language.

    My interpretation, and maybe why Matthew 25 also comes to mind is the idea that I have wasted my super-powers or God-given talents, for improper uses. It is a frightening thought to me. To destroy for meat is prostitution. It stirs the desire in me to align my talents with the highest best use, or God’s will.
    Great stuff.

    • Mike on May 26, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Brian,

      It’s amazing how much creative impact the translator can bring to another’s work.

      What amazes me is how a generation/era such as that of T.E. Lawrence could produce so many great minds for both translation and storytelling – whether orientalists like Lawrence, or those like Tolkien with his fascination on the Norse epics, and so many others with various foci around the globe, it was a generation rich in such talent.

      I believe it’s communities like this one, here, that build such pockets of talent.

      • Brian Nelson on May 26, 2021 at 4:23 pm

        Mike,
        Things do seem to happen in clusters, for sure. Could be another train of thought/discussion about ‘dialing in’ to a common collective consciousness of the time. Words do matter.
        bsn

    • Joe on May 26, 2021 at 11:17 am

      B… Recognize that much of mythology is metaphor, conveying deep and primal elements of our human psychology (I mean, The Odyssey writ large is representing this deep desire to “get home”), I wonder if this part of the story (about halfway in, killing the Cattle of Helios on Thrinacia) isn’t hitting the same theme as the story of “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.” A story representing the pitfalls of our human impatience and hungers, and how acting on those impulses separates us from spirit or the deeper natural world (the warmth and light of the sun, or the gold/value that can sustain our human enterprise).

      • Joe on May 26, 2021 at 3:42 pm

        Meant to say: “Recognizing that much of mythology is metaphor…” (and not “telling B to recognize…”).

        😉

        • Brian Nelson on May 26, 2021 at 4:28 pm

          Joe,
          Either works for me. I opened myself up by saying I’m no scholar of the Greek Classics–so I appreciate your insight.

          Killing the golden goose seems close as well. Another verse I love is Numbers 18:32 “You will bear no sin by reason of it, when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die.”

          Destroy for meat or profane the sacred gifts–that language is so direct, so clear. Powerful.

          One of the beauties of metaphor is that the message holds 3000+ years later.
          bsn

      • Peter Brockwell on May 27, 2021 at 8:01 am

        Brian, and Joe,
        Killing the goose that lays the golden egg; burying a talent of silver (75 pounds?); turning flesh from a living animal (and sacred oxen in this case). The principle to me here seems to be that these involve neglecting the higher order qualities and potential of beings and objects. The silver is not just shiny earth, to be preserved, like a miser would. Living flesh is not just protein. The silver can partake in the system of the global economy, and mediate an infinite number of win-win interactions. Living flesh likewise has unknowable potential.

        Feels like the difference between a scarcity and abundance mentality, and in seeing things and oneself as parts of greater systems nested within yet larger systems.

        Gotta dash. Lacking time at the moment. Really appreciate supping from the Writing Wednesdays fount…

  10. Tuviah Berkowitz on May 26, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Steve, I’m going to rebuke you — but gently.
    You’re Jewish. However observant of the Torah you are, you’ll always be a Jew. So get this straight. No matter how ironically, or tongue-in-cheek, or metaphorically, or literarily you’ve been reciting this prayer, drop it now. There is no Zeus, nor is there a Muse. There is only God. We Jews have been professing that for over three thousand years.
    Call Him God, Lord, Hashem, or Master of the Universe, but pray to Him. Ask _Him_ for help with your current projects. Who knows where He might lead you?
    So, leave it to Homer and Joyce to say, “Sing in me, Muse.” You’re different. You can put these words above your desk instead: אין עוד מלבדו.
    Powerful words, no?

    • Peter Brockwell on May 27, 2021 at 6:25 am

      Just putting this out there: I’m not sure anybody has the right to tell another person whom he/she should be praying to, nor the content of the prayers, nor how those prayers should be expressed, nor what he/she should believe?

      A thousand generations ago all our ancestors worshipped the sun, the sky, the spirits immanent in every aspect of nature. Doubtless the followers of Zeus and the Muses were incredulous at what they remembered of the simpler beliefs of millennia earlier.

      Interesting thing that came up in a discussion a few weeks ago between Sam Harris and David Whyte, about a monk on his death bed, who mentioned that he hadn’t prayed since decades earlier, because his whole life had become a continuous prayer. Perhaps the ennobling, self-actualising actions of a creator are a prayer? They certainly feel to me like they put me in contact with the vast eternal cosmos.

      Peter

      • Peter Brockwell on May 27, 2021 at 6:35 am

        Uchh, clarifying reply to myself. What I meant by ‘actions of a creator’ is my own actions in creating art. Likewise any creative person. I didn’t mean ‘creator’ as in deity, but people, people! Us, when we’re writing music, dreaming up scientific theories, or any ways of improving the world.

      • Joe on May 27, 2021 at 8:09 am

        Appreciate reading your thoughts on this, Peter. I also was listening to that Sam Harris / David Whyte conversation, and was intrigued by Whyte’s comment about the monk on his deathbed: “I don’t pray anymore. My entire life is a prayer to God.” I sought out the documentary on a BBC website (“Brotherhood: The Inner Life of Monks”), and was able to watch the thing in its entirety. Really good.

        It’s great to have devotion to one’s traditions, and to practice them in a way that brings a sense of meaning and community and connection to the divine. Everything around us is a manifestation of that divine. Where humanity continues to run into troubles, repeating this mistake over and again, is when we succumb to the chauvinism our tradition is the only valid one, the only “true” one. The rest of you are “other,” and we will beat you, subjugate you, burn you, or just shame you until you acquiesce to our particular narrative.

        What is fundamental, what is divine… all of that transcends not only human language, but our intellectual capacity to embrace it or to know it. We do the best we can by creating stories that approximate the divine, building on the archetypes that we struggle to intuit. Huxley’s “perennial philosophy.”

        I embrace any human who is on a path, a quest, to reconnect themselves to the divine. To “make it back home,” to put an Odyssean chord to the music. I’m in support of any of those pilgrims, regardless of the words they use or the songs they sing or the hats they wear. I’m on a journey and wear my own hat and I won’t presume that you should wear one that looks like mine. We’re all one thing, with one home… regardless of the words we use in our feeble efforts to describe it.

        • Brian Nelson on May 27, 2021 at 10:48 am

          Joe/Peter/Tuviah,
          Love the comments! “..chauvinism of one’s beliefs..” is a great description without poking someone straight in the eye with a fire-poker.

          I think it was the TV show “The Killing” about a couple of detectives in Seattle–anyway, the lead actors were discussing God. One of the actors said, “33 flavors, but it all comes from milk.”

          While not the most pristine, intellectual explanation–he summed up exactly how I feel about it. We all come from milk, everything else are just flavors.

          To break it down even further–all of life is just a different combination of 4 different letters arranged differently. Different reflections/manifestations of the same substrate, the same milk based product. Great stuff.
          bsn

          • Joe on May 27, 2021 at 1:56 pm

            “33 flavors…”

            I’m stealing that.



    • Robyn Weinbaum on May 28, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      one of the worst shows of arrogance is telling another how they SHOULD pray. i, too, am an observant jew, and i would never have the temerity, the audacity, the hubris, to tell someone else how to pray. as a child, i was told the story of Tuma Tuma Tuma [can’t find a written copy, sorry] a rabbi was to be paired with an illiterate woodcutter, when they died and ascended to the throne of The Holy One. so the rabbi went to meet his heavenly partner, and was dismayed that the woodcutter, a poor, illiterate, unlearned man, prayed tameh, three times a day. tameh means unclean. the rabbi coaxed the woodcutter to pray tumeh, clean, instead, and returned to his home. the heavenly host was outraged, as the poor woodcutter was so confused he could not pray at all. the rabbi had to undo his teachings before he could regain his place in heaven. So don’t tell others how to pray. [NB: i heard this story as a child, over 57 years ago. i might be off on the words tameh and tumeh, i remember the woodcutter saying ‘tuma tuma tuma’. but it was long ago, listening to the car radio. some things tick with you.]

      • Tuviah Berkowitz on May 30, 2021 at 1:09 am

        Hi, Robyn:

        That’s a well-known story you’ve mentioned. I know it too.
        Tameh is the adjective, while Tumah is the noun. Roughly, “defiled” and “defilement,” respectively. So the rabbi in this version of the story probably doesn’t instruct the hapless woodcutter to say “Tumah,” but “Tahor,” pure.
        Leaving Hebrew grammar aside, the woodcutter’s prayer isn’t really analogous to Steve’s prayer offered to the Muse. The woodcutter is unlearned but sincere. He wants to address God but doesn’t have the right vocabulary. And he’s so simple minded that providing him with a more appropriate term just confuses him. So, yeah, the rabbi should have just left well enough alone.
        But Steve (whom I don’t know, but I still kind of like) is a learned, sophisticated man. He knows the difference between monotheism and paganism. In that way, he’s not much like our woodcutter. Moreover, I wasn’t advising Steve about how to pray, but about whom he should be addressing — two very different things.
        If you had a Jewish friend who didn’t consider herself a Christian but for some odd reason insisted on praying to Jesus, would you set her straight? I hope you would.
        Robyn, I don’t think I was being arrogant. Audacious? Fine. There is such a thing as positive audacity. כל טוב.

        Tuviah Berkowitz

  11. Sam Luna on May 26, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Very interesting! I recite “The Piano Player Explains Himself” by Allen Grossman.

    • Joe on May 26, 2021 at 11:29 am

      “An imperfect player at the perfect instrument.”

      There it is.

  12. George Carpenter IV on May 26, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Now we’re getting into the good stuff.

  13. Tolis Alexopoulos on May 26, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you Steve! I’ll wait for the coming weeks.

    The Muse… the idea that a force greater than us is on our side, or better, on a plane wider than ours: it takes off some burden from our anxious hearts and allows us to fear less and dare more in the exploration process. I guess we people understand that we are granules of sand, lost in the infinite shores of the world, that’s why we can be helped by the acknowledgment of the personified infinity that can hold our hands. And I also think that what happens is that we feel more protected by the greater whole, more humble and o.k. to be “so small” or -another point of view- connected enough to the greater whole, “big enough” so as to be able to create with greater confidence. The symbol of the evocator may bring us in front of a mirror of our more lucent inner possibilities, a mirror manufactured by the materials of cosmos!

    • The Muse on May 29, 2021 at 7:46 pm

      Beautifully said Tolis. You have the soul of a poet. It’s taking that giant leap of faith isn’t it? A microcosm of a macrocosm. The microcosm a mere splinter of it’s true source, but still very much connected. It’s power only varying by degree. But it’s not something you can grab with your mind, it is beyond mind. It’s like catching raindrops with a butterfly net.
      Your post reminds me of that quote:
      ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.’

  14. John C. A. Manley on May 27, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Your advice, in the War of Art, to say a prayer before each writing session, led me to adopt the practice. As much as love the imagery of Homer’s invocation, and after trying some other prayers, I finally settled on composing and refining my own:

    Muse Divine, make me an avatar
    Of Thy creative energy.
    May mind become like still water
    Reflecting the moon of imagination;
    Heart a quiet place
    In which to hear enchanting tales;
    Hands a medium for transcribing whispers of truth,
    Cloaking them in delectable diction –
    Filling pages with stories
    That inspire, guide, amuse
    Meandering man
    In this challenging play of life.

    • Joe on May 27, 2021 at 8:10 am

      That’s a good one, John.

    • Peter Brockwell on May 27, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      John, that even stands on its own as a valid piece of poetry. Thanks for sharing.

  15. The Muse on May 29, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Dear writers and those who seek to express themselves. By doing so, you offer something in this world, that as yet does not exist.
    As the official spokesperson for the ‘Muse’, and by way of authorised edict by the ‘Muse’ herself – I have written authority to convey:
    * All writers have the right to express themselves in any terms that at that particular moment should manifest through the said artist, either known or unknown;
    * Under no circumstance, should any writer or creator; thereof: rebuke or partake in any form or shape, a personal criticism of oneself for what they have created at that time under the clause 2 of ‘The Muse’;
    * Each writer should take full responsibility for their own art, and if said art, either written, painted or played as music – under no circumstance should be criticized by its creator. Addendum 2: The only exception to self criticism is by covenant of: creation of art created out of ego, validation and any need of approval.
    * Under ‘Muse’ Law, only pieces of work created through false means should be taken under public opinion and treated as something that is owned under the public domain;
    *All authentic creations and written expression is not and can never be subject to public opinion, as such creations are protected with complete artistic integrity by ‘The Muse’. Thus rendering any public opinion moot.

    Section 2 of the governance and distribution of Inspiration, motivation and appearance(s) of the ‘Muse:
    *The ‘Muse’ cannot guarantee personal appearance for any individual on request of artist;
    [The ‘Muse’ conveys that as an intrinsic essence of humanity, that if accessed, is in part already an extensive source of each artist and creator – if unsure how to access the ‘Muse’ the following steps will grant an apperance:
    1: stop caring;
    2: don’t think;
    3: Just show up on the page;
    4: Again, stop thinking;
    5: Just write, no matter how you feel about the content;
    6: Be authentic, and just be you. There is only one you, and only you can express yourself;
    AND THERE i AM!
    Disclaimer: [The ‘Muse does not hold or take any responsibility for any success or failure in any making of any artistic endeavour]

  16. The Muse on May 29, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Life without a little whimsy, would be a very dull life indeed.
    And thank you Steve, keep the heroes coming hun – the world is sore need of them just now.

  17. The Muse on May 29, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    By the way one last thing I’m sure the Muse would like to convey:
    TAX Info:
    I am supposed to be filling in my taxes for the HMRC right now, (I’m based in the UK), (and yes, procrastinating as much as I can) but a heads up: please note that as an international writer, you need a tax exemption certificate for any royalties, and a bloody good solicitor to have them reimbursed to you. Your agent is not actually responsible for your tax exemption.

  18. JakeDewis25 on May 31, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Married dating isn’t osmething immoral. Especially if you both agree that there is something wrong happening in your union. You and your partner may just need take a break, have a rest from each other, and try dating someone else. For such purpose, married dating sites exist. https://datejasmin.com/

  19. Scott Hawley on June 3, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Wow Steven, I’d never seen this Prayer to the Muse before but it struck a very similar chord in my mind as the “Before Studying” prayer of Thomas Aquinas that I was taught decades ago by a fellow grad student:

    Ineffable Creator,
    Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom,
    have established three hierarchies of angels,
    have arrayed them in marvelous order
    above the fiery heavens,
    and have marshaled the regions
    of the universe with such artful skill,

    You are proclaimed
    the true font of light and wisdom,
    and the primal origin
    raised high beyond all things.

    Pour forth a ray of Your brightness
    into the darkened places of my mind;
    disperse from my soul
    the twofold darkness
    into which I was born:
    sin and ignorance.

    You make eloquent the tongues of infants.
    refine my speech
    and pour forth upon my lips
    The goodness of Your blessing.

    Grant to me
    keenness of mind,
    capacity to remember,
    skill in learning,
    subtlety to interpret,
    and eloquence in speech.

    May You
    guide the beginning of my work,
    direct its progress,
    and bring it to completion.

    You Who are true God and true Man,
    who live and reign, world without end.

    Amen.

    (source, plus original Latin: https://www.aquinascollege.edu/prayer-before-study-exams-spring-2013/)

    No doubt Aquinas knew Homer’s prayer well and sought to write something for his own purposes. I prayed Aquinas’ many times but fell out of the habit. I’ll seek to resume that.

  20. Una Pett on June 8, 2021 at 6:47 am

    After reading The War of Art years ago I wrote my own, which I recite each day as I get to work, lighting my candle and incense. The ritual of it helps the words sink in; I remember my purpose and relax a little; and each time, it feels like they’re new. In the spirit of sharing and mounds of appreciation for the inspiration, here’s mine:

    I call on my committee of allies and angels.
    Help me, O Muses
    to take what this day gives me
    to be open, to the infinite level of revelation that may unfold
    — the ideas and insights —
    to work hard, as sturdily and steadily as I can.
    Take note of my dedication and effort;
    help me to cultivate an attitude of wonder, joy, curiosity, play; mindfulness, faith, inquiry; gratitude, generosity, compassion, and service.
    Release the self,
    the maiden who is god’s plan and destiny for myself.
    Help me to bring her forth.

    thank you, and onward!

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