Calling all the Muses

A girl popped into my head earlier this week. I remembered her face so well. Even details about what she went on to do after we finished our seasonal work as actors many winters ago were standing by, ready to be accessed in my brain. What was not there was the brunette’s damn name.

I even phoned a friend (via text) and asked for help, but no such luck. My friend didn’t even remember the girl at all. I searched Facebook. I said names aloud, hoping they would stick and make me exclaim, “Oh, yeah! Her name was Bianca!!” Nothing was working. It was not coming.

Finally, the name popped into my head. Such a normal name and nothing like some of the exotic ones that were dancing around. I felt such a sense of relief when her name arrived.

The experience made me think about creativity and how frustrating it can be when it just doesn’t seem to want to come. Writer’s block or lack of inspiration is every creative person’s annoyance. Even more annoying than being unable to remember a name.

I remembered an old journal entry from years ago after a night of wine, chat, and all of that with a dear friend. Here is the entry:

10/09/11

Liz and I had, yet, another fabulous night. We discussed the Muse and I went back, in my mind, to the cat I saw the other day on 8th St. with a dead rat in its mouth. Growing up, I remember outdoor cats bringing old dead things to my aunt’s doorstep and leaving them on the mat, as if to say, “Thanks for loving me. Keep doing it.” It was like the cat believed my aunt was going to take the dead thing inside and cook it up for supper. Super cute. If only we could bring a dead rat or similar offering to the doorstep of the Muse to ensure it would always open its door and bring the love. Creativity feels like a stream — unseen beginning and ending — until its flow takes a break. I want to be a vessel for creativity to flow through for the rest of my days and I know Liz and I would gladly slaughter any rat to be one. z


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Porch Thoughts

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Tree in the backyard of our house in Valdosta, GA

Here in South Georgia, I have been spending a lot of time outside. My friends up north are all freezing their behinds off, while I have my feet up, swinging on the porch swing. But, I don’t feel guilty. Everyone knows I prefer warmer weather.

When wandering or gazing around, I think it is important to look up. Although, looking down also brings occasional treasures. Here is something I jotted down the other day, looking up:

The Tree in Me

Deep in me, 
There stands a tree
With roots gripped tight,
A trunk steady,
Branches extended
And leaves so bright—
In dirt, endures,
Through day and night

 

Winning Today

My favorite dice made of green onyx fell off the cabinet in the bathroom this morning and broke. When I picked it up, I noticed the chipped side was number 6, my favorite. I had gone to the bathroom to finish getting ready after seeing an eyewitness on the news for some disturbing story who looked exactly like Liza Minnelli. Of course, I was singing “Maybe this Time” from Cabaret, while spraying some hair down. Something great was bound to happen today and I was sure of it. I decided that I must play the lottery on the way to work and needed to leave early to get my tickets. I scratched and lost.

I made it to work. I had had a not-so-great day yesterday and the feeling that I would never catch up was prevalent throughout my morning. Today, when I arrived, I quickly noticed a large stack of files already completed. My mother and I currently work together and she was sitting behind that stack with a look on her face that let me know she knew I would be pleased. She had taken the time to help catch me up. Compared to the feeling that I had the day before, today I had won the lottery at work. I was ahead of the game and feeling shiny.

When I left work, I stopped by my friend Nicole’s to pick up something silly. During our brief visit, we had an inevitable beer and started talking about gratitude. Nicole said at one point,

“The magic of every day is the fact that expressing gratitude brings us happiness.”

Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves and each other to focus on what we are fortunate to have and it is amazing how quickly everything shifts inside. I know how lucky I am to have the family and friends I have and I would never trade them for anything or anyone in the world. Perhaps, it’s something to be learned when we are older and wiser, but it is an extremely important lesson.

We went on talking about being grateful and how it makes our lives complete. While Nicole discussed how much she prefers the gift of a heartfelt letter over anything material, I reached in and grabbed some of Sarah’s beef she had cooked in a stew for Nicole’s sister Meghan and her husband, who just had a little baby named Bo. As I chowed down, I realized how lucky Meghan and we all are to have each other in our tight-knit friend group (appropriately called the “Trailer Park Posse”). Sarah didn’t even mind that I sampled her cooking and even reached in and grabbed another chunk of meat for me. Nicole is blessed to live with and love such a great cook.

I would like to dedicate this post to Nicole, who always seems to find the right words and always finds the magic in every day. After our talk, I have focused on my own gratitude. I am one lucky guy. I might not have won the lottery in terms of winning cash from my tickets bought at the BP gas station today, but I have already won in SO MANY other ways.

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A Dandelion I made for Nicole on Liz Daggar’s fancy computer at The Museum