I have traveled half the world to say, You are my muse

In Stephen King’s book,On Writing, King goes into the importance of a muse. His muse happens to be guy, who lives in the ground, he’s a basement guy. King makes a point that you have to “descend to his level,and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him.”
Basically what Stephen King is saying is that you can not expect your muse to do all the work for you; a muse isn’t going to magically make you create something amazing. A muse is someone or something that inspires you creatively, and it can change throughout time, or remain the same for some artists. Woody Allen is famous for his obsessions with certain actresses for periods of time, resulting in some great movies. Shy by nature, Allen prefers to study the actresses’ work before meeting them. When he actually does a face-to-face interview; it is very quick and impersonal, because Woody prefers to observe her natural presence over getting to know her. Woody Allen has said in interviews that he has to “ have a crush” on his leading lady.
Sometimes finding a muse is so difficult, that you have to resort to using yourself. Frida Kahlo once said,  “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” From her tumultuous relationship with fellow painter Diego Rivera sprang controversial art from  both artists, but most of her pain was reflected in self-portraits that are still revered today.
Marie-Therese was seventeen when she was approached on the street by Picasso, who told her that she had an interesting face and offered to do a portrait of her, but she had no idea who he was. Picasso was forty-five at the time and married. Marie-Therese agreed to meet him, and their love affair continued in secret, thanks to the house Picasso purchased across the street from his marital home. Things remained under wraps for a few years until Picasso’s wife,Olga, learned of Marie-Therese’s pregnancy from a third party and moved to the south of France( but did not divorce him). Picasso’s appreciation for Marie-Therese’s beauty resulted in over eighty paintings, sculptures, and drawings. The decade-long love affair came to screeching halt when Marie-Therese found out that Picasso had fallen in love with French photographer Dora Maar. When the ladies accidentally ran into each other in his studio, Picasso asked them, “Why don’t you fight for me?” The two ladies wrestled, much to the artist’s amusement. Marie-Therese was always portrayed as blonde,beautiful, and bright in Picasso’s work; while Dora was portrayed as the dark woman, crying and in pain.
One dark woman who has been instrumental in both the literary and musical worlds is Patti Smith. In 1967 Patti Smith moved to New York city and met Robert Mapplethorpe one fateful night. They had an instant connection that resulted in a  five-year  romantic relationship (before Mapplethorpe came to terms with his homosexuality), and a fiercely loyal friendship that would have lasted a lifetime, if it hadn’t been for his untimely death. They were each other’s muse: he always pushed her to do more artistically, and was the first one to encourage her to sing; she was always pushing him to pick up a camera instead of trying so hard to create the perfect image out of raw materials(he was resistant to this idea for some time). Though they both struggled financially, they made invaluable connections while staying at the Chelsea Hotel, and always made sure to promote each other’s work whenever the opportunity was presented. Even after they broke up and went their respective ways, they remained “soul mates” and continued to support each other. Patti Smith went on to be labeled as the “Godmother of Punk”,   created hits such as “Because the Night” and “People Have the Power”, and collaborated with a plethora of rock’s greatest legends. Smith is also an accomplished author, but she attributes her musical success to Robert’s initial prodding. Robert Mapplethorpe became famous for his provocative, yet compelling photographs that can be seen in the most major museums in the world. His understanding of the human body and use of space and light has influenced many photographers, and his legacy will continue to inspire, thanks to The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
I had planned on going into all of the women who inspired rock legends, and what songs came of those collaborations, but I feel that this blog may be dragging a bit. The point is, that a muse doesn’t always have to be the love of your life, or your best friend. Sometimes it can be the form of a song, a painting, or even your favorite beach. Whatever the case, find your muse, put it in that apartment, and make it comfortable, because you have some work to do.

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You Give Love A Bad Name

Yeah,
See if I care
And see if I stand firm or if I fall
Cause in the back of my mind,
and on the tip of my tongue
is the answer to it all…

And everybody sees
And everyone agrees
That you and I are wrong
And it’s been that way too long

The Raconteurs “Many Shades Of Black”

I’m undecided about you again
I can be right that you’re not here
It’s double sided ’cause I ruined it all
But also saved myself
By never believing you dear

Fiona Apple “o’ Sailor”

So maybe you aren’t very fond cupid’s holiday for one reason or another. Even for people in coupledom, this “hallmark holiday” can cause more  prickly then fuzzy feelings, especially when you go to work and see everyone other then you has received a bouquet of flowers. If you are alone on February 14th, it only seems as if the stores are displaying candies and presents earlier, and everyone you know is in some sort of relationship ( even that nasty co-worker you were convinced only had relationships with her cats).
It may soothe your soul to know that no matter how bad of a V-day you may have had in the past, some people had you beat in that category. In 1998, two trains collided in Cameroon, spilling fuel oil that was eventually ignited by a scavenger’s cigarette. The explosion killed more than 100 people. In 1981, a fire in nightclub in Dublin killed forty eight people. Okay, so natural disasters aren’t the same as having a broken heart, but at least you can celebrate being alive (silver lining).
Nothing accentuates the slap in the face of being miserable on a day where everything is covered in pink and red hearts more then whatever over-hyped rom com being released on Valentine’s day. So I have compiled a short list of movies that will make you forget about the looming holiday. Heck, some of them may leave you feeling grateful to be single.

American Beauty
This is a depressing yet refreshing true look at the inter-workings of what seem(from the outside) to be your normal,dysfunctional family. But once you take a closer look, you realize that after time, love fades, dreams subside, and sometimes bitterness controls your every action.

 Closer

A story of two couples who become mysteriously interlocked into each other’s lives, commit adultery,and complicate things beyond repair, though that doesn’t keep them from trying. It is painful to watch at times, but this movie is one of the truest depictions of love; in that if you keep looking for something better, it will never happen.

(the next two are both Woody Allen movies but you would never know it)

  Match Point

Man tries to worm his way into society by befriending  an affable society man his age while playing tennis. One thing leads to another, and he starts dating his new friend’s sister. Just as it looks as if he is about to marry his way into the high life, he meets his friend’s fiancée, and he is instantly intrigued.

 VickyChristinaBarcelona

Two young friends, Vicky and Christina, make a trip to Spain together. Vicky is the reserved one of the pair, already engaged; while Christina is a free-spirit unwilling to be constricted by the confines of what society expects of her. Both girls fall under the spell of an alluring spanish painter, though Vicky hides their tryst,while Christina continues the relationship. The relationship blossoms until a wrench is thrown into their bliss, in the form of his volatile ex-wife (who at one point tried to kill him), and soon Christina finds herself in a three-way relationship with the pair. Things get more complicated when Vicky realizes that her one-time tryst may have opened her eyes to how incredibly dull her fiancée really is, but that doesn’t stop her from marrying him. That is only the beginning of this complicated study of human nature; but don’t be fooled by the cover, this one doesn’t have any happy endings.

 Alfie

A playboy goes through life bedding as many women as possible, until one day he realizes that his wild-boy days may not be very fulfilling after all. When he tries to right all of his past wrongs, and grasp onto some semblance of stability, he finds that his actions are too little, too late.

 Revolutionary Road

Now I haven’t seen this one, but I want to. One reviewer said, “ I actually left the theater feeling thankful that I’m not married.”

Casino

Yes, I know, this is a mobster movie. But think about it for a minute. Ace makes his way to Vegas and works hard to become legit, and in doing so makes a very big name for himself. His life is going the way he always dreamed it would, until he meets Ginger, a women with a ton of baggage and killer legs. Normally Ace is a meticulous judge of character, but when it comes to Ginger, he loses all control. Ginger ruins everything for Ace and his former friend and confidant Nicky. Bottom line: Love can ruin your life.

Anna Karenina

Now, I would highly recommend reading the novel over watching the movie, but considering the length, you would probably have to start reading it a week before Valentine’s Day. There is a newer version in the works with Keira Knightly as Anna, and Jude Law as Karenin, which I am both dreading and anticipating. I have not seen the 1997 version, but it seems to have received good reviews.  Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society.

I hope you enjoy your anti-Valentine’s Day.