I don’t believe in muses. In any form. I’ve heard some people say that the muse is whatever inspires us. However you define the muse, I don’t have one or want one. She is a dangerous construct for me. If I let myself rely on a muse, I no longer have control over my creative processes. I refuse to relinquish that control.
This is how I understand sports, after a lot of searching to understand sports. You see, I’ve always considered sports as super arbitrary. What two teams accomplish at noon today is different from what they’d accomplish a couple hours later or a couple weeks later. The variables just seem too many for any single sports event to mean a whole lot.
Then Husband pointed out to me that sports isn’t that much different from writing (aside from the actual physical prowess, ability to control one’s appendages, and injuries). What I write now in this hour on this day is fundamentally different from the words I would write tomorrow on the same subject. The result would be largely the same to varying degrees of achievement, but the variables matter. Well, dang. Got me there.
I don’t think athletes have muses. They have skills, practice, coaches, and tools. I don’t think I have a muse. I have skills, practice, coaches, and tools. Both the athlete and I are in control and our outcomes accrue to various ends. But we never give up control. The muse doesn’t have to tell an athlete to perform and doesn’t have to tell me to write. I cannot wait on her to tell me anything. It’s a choice.
My productivity rests largely on my choices. Sure, other variables exist, but my choice is the key. I’m reinventing that productivity by giving myself permission to make an open choice and affirming my work product.
Permission. Ah, my Achilles heel. I’ve spent much of my creative life wanting permission to be creative. I wanted some external entity to say, “Amanda, here is your permission to write. And here is your permission to art. All the permissions!” Shockingly, no one ever said that to me.
I used to be a self-proclaimed affirmation hound. When I received graded school papers, I wanted red, lots of red, and words. Even if those words were critical. I enjoy affirmation on just about any positive act, viewpoint, or achievement. In the past when that affirmation failed to appear, I let myself recede into the void.
Nope. No more. I affirm myself now. I affirm my effort. I give myself permission to be who I am. I permit myself to create. I permit myself to explore. I permit myself to use whatever gifts I have to increase the good in the world, to feed my soul, to glorify my Creator, and to provide for my family. Words? Art? Law? Teaching? Yes, yes, yes, yes. Whatever it takes. However much work it requires. Regardless of what others say, think, permit, affirm, or deny.
I am newly productive. Newly permitted. Newly affirmed. And I’m so ready.
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