“Something really vital happens if we treat the things that give us the most joy and delight – like, say, our creative abilities – as gifts…” – Jericha Senyak
She commented that they “seem to be saying, repeatedly, that it’s not helpful to think about the muse or divine gifts or whatever when approaching creativity — that waiting for inspiration to strike holds us back, that genius is not some special thing granted to the lucky few, that frustration and problem-solving make for the eureka moment and not some kind of touch from above.”
She thinks that “something really vital happens if we treat the things that give us the most joy and delight – like, say, our creative abilities – as gifts and not something that belongs to us by right.”
I appreciate her perspective.
We can really benefit from fully embracing ourselves, including our talents – especially our complex creative abilities.
Artists throughout history have had this kind of experience of being inspired to create by something outside themselves – or someone.
What is going on? How do we make sense of this inspiration?
[Painting at top: Kiss of the Muse by Paul Cezanne – used in several articles of mine, including Creative Talent: Genetics, A Muse, Or Hard Work?]
The Muse and love
Jane Piirto, Ph.D. writes about “Seven I’s” of the creative process: Intuition, Inspiration, Insight, Improvisation, Imagination, and Imagery, and notes:
“All creators talk about inspiration. Literally, inspiration is a taking in of breath. In terms of creativity, inspiration provides the motivation to create. Inspiration is a breathing or infusion into the mind or soul of an exaltation.”
She says one way this shows up is “being inspired by regard for another [which] has been called the visitation of the muse…Today, when we speak of the muse, we speak of the inspiration that is related to desire.”
She adds, “The person experiencing desire is inspired by that feeling, and seeks to impress the object of desire, by making something or showing something. The whole industry of greetings related to February 14, is an example of the pervasive inspiration of love.
“One need only study art history to see the myriads of works dedicated to desire. The paintings of Gerome…Tura, Poussin, of Chagall (Apparition: Self Portrait with Muse), of Picasso’s many models and several wives; of Dali — the list is infinite.”
Francine Prose wrote her book The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired about this kind of personal dimension of the Muse and creativity.
She includes material about Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland,” Elizabeth Siddal who “became” Beatrice to Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti; Gala Dali and surrealist Salvador Dali; Suzanne Farrell and choreographer George Balanchine; Charis Weston and photographer Edward Weston; Yoko Ono and John Lennon, and other artist relationships.
This painting may be an example of this kind of inspiration by a person: “Muse” by Alphonse Mucha, one of my favorite artists.
This is. I believe, another of his works using his daughter Jaroslava as his model.
Piirto also writes that “Inspiration by the muse also has a mystical aspect. The people who are inspired often say that they are possessed.
“This idea is an ancient one, with a long literature that is seldom referred to by psychologists working on the creative process.
“The Platonic view is that the work comes from elsewhere than the intellect. The surrealists elaborated on this idea to theorize that the inspiration is from the unconscious, the unknown within. Thus, ‘visitation’ of the Muse.
“Creators often speak as if what they write was sent from something within but afar. Inspirations ‘come.’ Some creators feel as if they are go-betweens, mediums. Some mysterious force impels them, works through their hands, wiggles through them, shoots from them.
“This type of inspiration also applies in theater. For example, some actors speak of being receptacles for their characters’ souls, of being possessed.”
From her article The Creative Process as Creators Practice It. [PDF]
Professor Piirto is an acclaimed author on creativity, and Director of Talent Development Education at Ashland University. She writes much more about the Seven I’s and other topics in her book Understanding Creativity.
While I may not have had a sense of being guided by an external Muse, I have sometimes felt passionately inspired to do some writing, or create a photograph or other project, and that inspiration – at least to some degree – has felt like something more than my ‘normal’ inner motivation.
Also see many other posts on Creative inspiration – the Muse.
Article publié pour la première fois le 31/03/2015