The Muse–Fact or Fiction?

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I’ve been giving a lot of thought to whether The Muse™ is a real thing; a little fairy in diaphanous Grecian garb who plunks herself down on your shoulder and dictates all your best ideas while you loll, helpless and half-conscious, like some Delphic oracle mad on fumes from the underworld.  Or perhaps it’s just a prosaic source of prose that emanates from some intuitive area of the mind we can only see with a stealthy peek out of the corner of our consciousness.

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Thalia, Muse of Comedy

Certainly, ideas do seem to pop out of the ether, whether that be ethylene-induced, absinthe-derived, or pulled right out of the proverbial arse.  I do experience that “it came to me in the shower” phenomenon so many writers describe.  (Which may suggest the muse is a bit of a perv.)  Characters, plot points, jokes and denouements all pop out on the page without me deciding anything.  Now, far smarter folk than I have investigated this topic exhaustively, though I don’t think I’ve heard a comprehensive explanation that quite covers it for me.

Product of the unconscious mind? Sure, I can get with that. But until philosophers and neuroscientists map that out, we have no idea how that works or even what to do with that information.

So shall we go with Grecian demigoddesses, metaphorical though they be?  Why not.

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