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

  1. Absolutly loved your blog. Having knowledge of the “greats”, in Art History, and their inspirational influences they had on each other, is something that is “overlooked”, by the untrained eye. It was a good read- and the “muse”, is like you said, found in many many avenues of our daily walk of life. Like you implied-get to work …lest our muses move on without us.

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