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Dorien Grey

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Blogs by Dorien Grey

A Mess o'Muses
10/13/2008 7:57:11 AM
Adapted from an earlier blog entry at "Dorien Grey and Me" (http://www.doriengreyandme.com)
Much is made of a writer's muses, and I admit to calling upon them from time to time. However, with apologies to Greek mythology, all my muses are male relatives of the original.

My primary muse is named is Joe and, like so many of the characters in my books, he just suddenly appeared with no forethought or advance notice. But I liked him the minute he walked in the always-open door of my mind, and I rely heavily on him for blog topics. He’ll also hopefully be able to give both you and me a little insight into how my mind works.

Having brought Joe in, I gave a bit of thought to the fact that there are nine muses. and to avoid the possible charge of sexism by having all my muses bein men, I point to the fact that all the originals are women. This is a perfect example of other people’s reality and why I choose to ignore it whenever I can, or adjust it to fit my needs.

So here is a list of the original nine muses and my personal counterparts:

Calliope is the muse in charge of Epic Poetry—though from her name I’d have thought she’d have been the muse of pipe-organ players. Although I do write poetry, none of it has ever come even close to being epic, so we won’t be seeing much of Calliope’s male counterpart, George.

Clio, muse of History; has a brother, Mike, with whom I consulted briefly a few times while putting up entries in my A World Ago blog of Navy letters to my parents (and okay, I can’t resist giving you the link to it yet again: http://www.doriengrey.blogspot.com) I may call on Mike from time to time, but I don’t think we’ll be hanging out together all that much.

Euterpe oversees Lyric Poetry; and she looks so much like her sister Calliope that I find it hard to tell them apart. We won’t be hearing much from her or her male counterpart, Irving, either.

Melpomene (I really love that name) and her brother Chuck are the muses of Tragedy, and I am a little too familiar with them to want to bother them too often.

Terpsichore, muse of Choral Dance and Song, has taken out a restraining order against me for my total lack of talent in either of her fields of expertise, and while I know she has a male counterpart, he also not only refuses to speak to me but won’t even let me know his name.

Erato, whose name pretty much gives away what her domain is, is the muse of Love Poetry, and her male counterpart’s name is Butch. I’m afraid Butch considers me too much of a wimp to want to spend much time in my company.

Polyhymnia, whose name I also love, is muse of Sacred Poetry, and her male counterpart’s name is Archibald. Archibald is something of a snob. Whereas Butch thinks I’m too much of a wimp for him, Archibald considers me a gross buffoon, so we certainly won’t be seeing much of him, either.

Have you noticed there seem to be an awful lot of muses in charge of poetry?

Thalia and her brother Skip are the muses of comedy, and I’m really very fond of them. Skip and I seem to enjoy each other’s company, and I hope you’ll be seeing a good deal of him.

And then, inexplicably, we have Urania, muse of Astrology, who seems to be the black sheep of the Muse family. No one seems really to know what to do with her. I mean, a muse of astrology? Come on. She has a male counterpart named Stanley, I understand, but apparently he ran off to join the circus when he was very young and hasn’t been heard from since.

Which brings us back to Joe. Joe, obviously, is at least for me the muse of fiction writing, but for some totally unknown reason, the Greeks never assigned a muse for fiction writing. Four muses devoted to poetry, and not one to fiction writing? And if you’re tempted to say “well, the Greeks never wrote much fiction,” I beg to strongly differ, pointing you to the Iliad and the Odyssey and, in fact, to all of mythology, including the muses. You’d have thought they’d have come up with a muse for it. Well, now they have Joe, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re stuck with him.

Thanks for coming by.


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