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  • Ronda Wicks Eller

The Raging Muse


The Tempest

I woke up today with a "blogging muse". It doesn't come to me as often as it should, probably because my mind is usually wrapped around so many other things. I obviously don't blog to make money eh? Well I could put this muse on Facebook and label it a rant but that gives it a limited lifetime and I'm afraid this one goes much deeper. This is a raging muse:

Poets are not what the media makes them out to be; think of movies and plays that either romanticize, glamorize or make light of them.

Being a poet is not romantic, glamorous or funny. It's a calling that, in most cases, makes a pseudo-martyr out of the poet, whose compulsion is to record observations of the world around and blend them with relevant contemplation. The result gives people, who think on more or fewer levels, a gauge and inspiration source for their own progression through life, both external and internal. What does the poet receive for that effort?

A lucky few poets are elevated to a position where they might manage an income by what they do but let's face it - most people simply don't buy poetry books because their eyes are glued to the boob-tube (TV), movie screens and other mainstream media sources. They are "sheeple"... and who knows that better than poets and their publishers. In fact, I'll be so brash as to declare that even most poets don't buy books by other poets but for a different reason; they're too busy trying to sell their own. They trade a few with other poets at readings and book fairs but that doesn't create revenue. Is that the poets' fault? No. Where will they find the money to buy another poets' book if nobody buys theirs? So why does nobody buy? Certainly Literacy isn't rising on the Endangered Species List... or is it? That could be a topic for another blog post but not this one.

Stigma attached to poetics is one culprit. Poesy carries a certain reputation in different spheres:

Unless they draft hymns and praises to God, religious groups classify poets as hedonists; people to be avoided lest they become a stumbling block along the road to heavenly communion. All you zealots reading this can now bite your tongue because you do this, and you know it! And I know it because I've experienced your ostracizing and condescension firsthand, and repeatedly. You follow the words by 'prophets of old' but any person in today's society who writes anything closely resembling prophesy must be a false prophet. How does that happen? Did God leave or something? If he walks with you in your daily life why doesn't he walk with me in mine? Because I never accepted Christ as my personal saviour? Aah, but I did, and I was baptized too and I haven't turned my back on my faith - I just don't write about it the way you think I should, and that's my personal business anyway. It's obviously different than yours but who are you to judge? Who are you to classify me in any way at all? Okay, never mind, this blog entry isn't meant to jab at religions and anyone guilty of this in my personal sphere knows their guilt. I've said enough on that point.

Movies use the character of a poet to demonstrate the 'dreamer' in society, the dude or dudette that isn't really in touch with reality. Ah, really? Then how is it that the poet recognizes the similarities between a caterpillar and humanity's struggle to overcome its self-made 'casing' in order to become a beautiful butterfly, for example. Is the caterpillar unreal? the human? the struggle? the triumphant butterfly? And is the poet a dreamer because they write for a few shekels if any, rather than taking a day job that stifles their creativity but puts more money in the bank for them? Is it the poets' fault that society can't see its way to supporting people from whom they can learn about themselves in an easier way than battling all the roadblocks they throw up for themselves?

Poets often delve deep into the core of their own psyche or step way out onto its fringe to deliver tiny, bite-sized morsels of truth that often get obscured by daily living and it's true, some go mad by it, some take drugs to induce a more thought-expanding state, but the vast majority do neither. Some poets experience great epiphanies and they try but never seem to efficiently share in words, although they make many successive attempts (not for themselves but because they are driven to present it to the reader as clearly as possible). This is no idle activity - it consumes vast amounts of meditative thought and energy before the first word of the first draft even appears on the page (and then there are all the subsequent reworked drafts until a muse finally declares 'that's enough').

Yes, a muse declares it finished (at least for the time being)... but "muse" is such an ambiguous term, isn't it. Is it some hedonistic spirit? something angelic or demonic? an entity or a thought? perhaps a thought form that materializes as an entity. Ask any poet - they can't tell you either but most will tell you it really doesn't matter. It's the driving force to create along a specific theme using a specified modality (written word, painting, sculpture, architectural design)... but why do people get so anxious about the intangibility of someone else's muse? If the muse comes to me and we are inter-connected then hasn't the muse come to you too? The disconnect comes because people have always been afraid of what they can neither see or touch. The baser human nature struggles for mere survival of species - rearing its ugly head and blocking its soul-worthiness in a race through the orchard to grapple with other humans over a few pieces of fallen fruit. But in ancient antiquity, isn't that where the concept of muses also began?

Sure it is - it was the creative spark personified in ancient mythologies and religions, and it was the thought form that told baser man that if he climbed the tree, leaving the fight for over-ripened fruit, he/she would find fresh fruit waiting on the limbs... but people today don't extrapolate the concept this far. Why not? Because fearing the muse is ingrained; after all, if you're sitting under a tree meditating, who knows if a lion could wander up and eat you for lunch, right? Well maybe it's time that people in avoidance of the muses wake up and get themselves real. These aren't prehistoric days any more. People fear the muses of others and even their own, anything that makes them redefine themselves when the mirror shows them something about themselves they don't prefer. Well they better heed their inner selves now, before government finishes delimiting their freedom of thought... Oops, back to the topic of people fearing poets from which I digressed:

People fear poets (who courageously lend their purpose to the muses' expression) and generally react with mockery or avoidance using that old cliche "I don't understand them", instead of receiving poetic, soul-feeding input in the gentle, easy portions being offered... and really, who cares if your brain understands it as long as your soul does. You will feel it in your soul and that's enough, isn't it? Isn't that the most important thing? Think about it reader. You want enlightenment, self-improvement and progress right? Sometimes I (or my muses) hear you shout about it or scream for the need of it, and the need for transparency, while carrying your assortment of placards in public demonstrations... but you look outside at the world and expect it to change while denying yourself any sense of culpability.

I awoke with my muses angry today. Not angry at me, but you. Don't shoot the messenger...

feed the messenger. My task, and the task of those like me, isn't a glorious one and our messages aren't ones of madness. Some of us might be prophets, others simply translators, but the muses ensure their words meet you on your level, not ours. We're just a bunch of scribes so buy the damn books people...

Your messengers starve!


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