How Do You Court Your Muse?

When I started my blog four years ago, I didn’t really have anything specific in mind that I wanted to write about. I was still in college studying two majors at the same time — language and literature. I had a two year hiatus and blogged on Tumblr every once in a while. I didn’t really pay more attention to writing anything concrete for a certain audience or readers on my blog as I focused more on writing critical analyses on Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, and many other foolish human beings I came to love.

I must say I had so much fun learning about how f*cked up these people were. I learned so much that I loved writing about them. Well, that was two years ago. When I finished college, I left everything I had learned behind and just decided I wanted to teach little kids, read children stories and do other mommy duties that I don’t really have to do.

I was supposed to be a writer, a columnist for a magazine, an editor for a publishing house, a linguist, a researcher and so on. I had so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to study the historical and structural feature of a certain language. I want to learn more theories and try to apply them. But my laziness and inexperience led me to teaching.

Teaching was fun in the beginning, but everything I did at work became like a ritual and I wanted to get back to writing. A friend of mine asked me if I could help him out with his website, so I started writing lengthy feature articles once again. He actually asked me to write 500-word essays three times a week, but I am not the kind of writer who adhere to a certain rule which always makes me end up writing three times longer than the supposed length.

I could write about something or someone for days. I am very talkative in the form of written words, but I have to admit it doesn’t make any sense sometimes. I feel like the reason I can’t stop writing once I start is, I am always trying to explain things in different ways. When I got back to blogging, I started writing short poems to tone it down.

I got inspired by Pablo Neruda and Edgar Allan Poe, and took a bit of it from Emily Dickinson. I honestly think the latter’s poetry made my brains bleed for a long time while I was in college. Seriously.

Loving someone who doesn’t love me back makes me think of the moon and the sun, and the stars hiding behind the clouds on a stormy night. It makes me think of the existence of black hole and how vast this universe is. It makes me think of nature and the origin of everything that breathes. And it makes me think of how unfair it is to love him without getting his love in return. It makes me think of so many things that my feelings get messed up with my thoughts. I need an outlet to release everything that makes my heart systolic. Poetry fortunately helps me vent out all the repressed emotions I have..

I have been feeling demotivated to write lately, and all I have wanted to write are sad poems. I am stuck at the second chapter of my manuscript. And I have been stuck for ten days now. I don’t know about you but for me, when I have a writer’s block, it usually takes me three weeks or more and I hate it.

When I woke up this morning, I found myself sitting in bed and facing the mirror with a cup of black coffee for thirty minutes or more. I was just sitting there like a robot, my back against the head board while my legs are crossed. It was very silent and so peaceful. I thought of the many words and sentences I could have written for ten days. And right then and there, I got my muse back.

It’s not as weird as how other people court their muse, but this is how I do it.

How Famous Writers/Artists Court Their Muse according to Diane Ackerman‘s A Natural History of Senses.

Schiller kept rotting apples under his desk and when he needed to find the right word for his poetry, he would just smell them. I tried this in college, but only to keep me awake during an all-nighter. 😀

Dr. Samuel Johnson and W.H. Auden drank lots of tea. The former was reported to drink twenty-five cups of tea in just one sitting.

Victor Hugo, Benjamin Franklin and many others worked naked.

Benjamin Franklin and Edmond Rostand wrote while they soaked in a bathtub. Did you know Benjamin Franklin brought the first bath tub to the US in the 1780s? I didn’t know!

D.H. Lawrence climbed naked up mulberry trees. He had a fetish for long limbs and rough bark and he believed that it stimulated his thoughts.

Alexandre Dumas color-coded the paper he wrote his works on. He used rose-colored paper for his non-fiction, blue for his fiction and yellow for his poetry. He would also eat an apple under the Arc de Triomphe at seven in the morning.

George Sand wrote on her desk after making love in bed.

Voltaire used his lover’s naked back as a writing desk.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain and Truman Capote wrote while lying down. Capote declared himself as “a completely horizontal writer.”

Thomas Wolfe, Virginia Woolf, and Lewis Carroll wrote while standing.

Samuel Coleridge indulged himself in two grains of opium before writing.

T.S. Eliot liked writing when he had a head cold.

William Gass walked around photographing for a couple of hours before writing.

Amy Clampitt wrote sitting behind a window, in the city, on a train or by the seaside

Mary Lee Settle worked on her typewriter when she woke up and still groggy.

Fascinating, isn’t it? 🙂


Ackerman, Diane. 2011. A Natural History of the Senses. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.