Mar 162013
 

Is it romantic to call me your muse?* My first instinct was no, because it smacks of you needing me, obligating me to… I don’t know, do muse things. How shall I muse? So that’s covered below in the conversation I had on twitter the other day, more thoughts after the tweetboxen:

Is it romantic to be creatively inspired by me? Yes, that can be romantic. “I was thinking of you when I made this” is sweet and lovely (I mean, so long as ‘this’ isn’t a map to my house painted in blood).

I suspect the difference has something to do with objectification. “Be my muse” demands of me; it casts me in a role without lines, and if I stray too far and your art suffers, that’s my fault. “I’m inspired by you” exalts me while you create; it leaves me free to be myself, and the responsibility for your work is still yours. Is that a reasonable difference in construction, or am I getting my hackles up over semantics? I still refuse to put “muse” on my resume.

Anyway, next time I talk about romance, it will likely involve Casablanca and the horrific concept of deserving the girl no matter who she loves. So we have that to look forward to!

 

 

* Take it as given that the ‘you’ here is a perfectly spherical human of uniform density in a vacuum; ie, I’m merely pondering concepts.

  8 Responses to “Romantic?”

  1. I like it. Maybe it’s the difference between, “This is one of the things you mean to me,” and, “this is your role.” Hmm. That might be over-simplified. Let me try again, “I value this in you,” is not the same as, “This is your value.” I think that’s a bit closer.

    I don’t know; I’ve been drinking.

  2. Yeah, I like both of those summaries.

    I should be drinking.

  3. There have been people I have been inspired by, in various ways–quite a few of them, over the years, and those inspirations have at times produced quite a bit of… uh, product. But I… can’t really wrap my brain around the idea of having another actual human being be “my muse.” It’s very Romantic, bringing immediately to mind opium-addled poets pining elegantly in ruffled white shirts. And, as you say, it doesn’t give the muse-person (musee?) room to do much of anything. There’s a lot of stuff implied by the idea that I’d be very uncomfortable with.

    Besides, I already have a muse. She lives entirely in my head and sometimes curb-stomps my brain while screaming “THIS IS AN AWESOME IDEA DO IT NOW!” She wears tattered butterfly wings, a sparkly tiara, and combat boots. If I ever met her in person I’d be–alarmed.

    • Yeah. ” It’s very Romantic, bringing immediately to mind opium-addled poets pining elegantly in ruffled white shirts” sounds great, but it not only sucks to be one, it sucks to have to deal with them.

      (Although I look really hot in a ruffled white shirt. Just sayin’)

    • Yeah, discomfort at best, or outright running-and-screaming.

      I’d be amused to meet that muse in person, though – maybe because she wouldn’t be making ME do anything.

  4. ‘“Be my muse” demands of me; it casts me in a role without lines, and if I stray too far and your art suffers, that’s my fault.’

    Neil Gaiman’s Sandman story “Calliope” takes that idea to its logical (and horrible) conclusion.

    I read Neil’s stories and (especially as a white male, we’re pretty clueless about things) think “that’s a great story”. And then there’s a post like this, and I think, “Oh, *that* is what that story is about”.

  5. Oh, I should pull out some Sandman. I haven’t read any of it in forever, but that sounds highly relevant.

    As far as being a white male, don’t sell yourself short; I’m pretty sure Gaiman is a white dude, too. I think we tell each other stories so we can have thoughts like these about experiences we’d never have.

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