Muse Hymn Box
Melbournian writer, Elizabeth Hayes has a close association with the muse.
Yet for all her striving she has no choice but to concede that it is 'she
who knows me'. The precise identity
of the muse remains elusive to her.
My muse is a mistress of contradictions. Sylph-like in essence yet robust in nature, she is enchanting and demanding and I never quite know what she wants of me next. She gains my attention through both her presence and absence. Words, textures, sensations, metaphors, symbols, ideas and perceptions are some of the tools of the muse's trade. An appreciation of beauty in everyday life is her crowning gift. Beauty in its many forms especially detail.
My muse likes memory and depth, story and song, old graveyards and bare-branched trees, junk shops and dog-eared copies of books. I'm aware of a seasonal predilection in my muse. She's definately and Autumn and Winter's woman. Her mood is one of solitude yet she loves to commune with the soulfulness of things. In the cooler months things exude a soulful ether more so than in heady exuberance of summer.
My muse flags in the heat. I call my muse a 'she' because musing is a feminine principal. A certain receptivity is necessary for musing, an innerness that can be consuming, seductive and at times addictive. My muse is a prominent star that can shine brightly one moment then dim among the constellations the next. Her language is non-literal and subtle. She does her work quietly upon me and sometimes when the lighting is surreal or the mirrors of my imagination are angled just so, I get a glimpse of her. The house she has built is layered with likeness, image and reflection. An imaginal cottage with many rooms that is more home than house, more beauty than style. External restriction can bring my muse to the fore. When her purse is light she'll steer clear of department stores and stumble upon a china cup in an op shop or second hand copy of a book she's been eager to read.
The Dance of the Seven Veils is my muse's theme song. She likes exotic rhythms and the drama of theatre. Both illusion and loss of it, she is a regular tease. She won't perform on mountaintops. The air there is thin and dry. Moist vales are her terrain. Although heavensent, my muse is tethered to the earth. She is a bridge between worlds and reveals worlds within worlds. Being with her contrasts the literal work-a-day world. This tension is difficult to reconcile but a necessity of muse work. To link these disparate worlds with activities like letter writing is one of the muse's passions. Writing or reading a letter is a soulful enterprise, a slowing down, a deep intimacy.
That is why my muse likes writing more than talking, a story more than an explanation and a mystery more than an answer. Writing about my muse isn't easy. She's amused by attempts to pin her down and delighted by her meanderings in this piece. For all my striving to know her, it is she who knows me. I have no claim on her. There's no 'my muse'. I'm in her.
Heather Blakey asserts the right to be identified as the author of this work