“Spend time every day listening to what your muse is trying to tell you.” —Saint Bartholomew
My first muse arrived in 2004, my second a year later, and my most recent in 2009. My children are my muses; and though prior to their arrival I understood the concept of a muse, I can honestly say that despite my love for and interest in the written word, I never had had a face-to-face encounter with this elusive source of inspiration. Poets waxed, well, poetically about the magic of the muse. I just figured it wasn’t for me.
Until Oscar arrived. And then Edgar. And finally August.
The responsibilities of parenthood may at first (and second and third) glance seem incompatible with creativity. And indeed many times that is the case. Composing poetry while loading the dishwasher may be a romantic notion that doesn’t actually play out well in real life. And it’s hard to fold a basket of laundry with one hand and paint a masterpiece with the other.
But life–if not parenthood–is full of paradoxes.
As the mother of three young children, I have never been more physically tired–but I have never been more intellectually awake.
Despite nearly ever hour of every day being fully accounted for, I have never felt more free to create.
Motherhood has made me more attentive, more observant than I have ever been; and words and experiences have meaning that I never before saw.
My children motivate me without their even realizing it. They make me care more than I ever have.
I do not have to step outside my family to find my muse. My muses have come to me.
Stephen Nachmanovitch wrote, “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.” And while I credit my three sons with being my muses, perhaps they are also responsible for releasing the one that was there all along.