Monday, January 18, 2010

Breathe It In

L.G.C. Smith

I'm writing in a Pens vacuum. In the last ten days, while visiting my brother, his family, and my parents, when I had time to myself, I wrote. I didn't spend any time online. Hard to imagine for many, I know, but I'm such a dinosaur I can remember when blow dryers were the sparkly new miracle of modern technology. Now I'm home, but my laptop won't connect to my home network. Gah. I feel lost not having read what Sophie, Rachael, Juliet and Adrienne have written about Muse.

What inspires me? My instinctive answer is too simple: Life. Anything. Everything. I need to try harder.

So I made a list of things from which I've taken inspiration, and it's long. Too long. A fraction of it includes: Trees. Rocks. Ruins. Landscapes. Language. Culture. Changes in all those things. Time. Anything unknown that's left clues about what happened before. Space. Stories. Hidden things. Forgotten words. Will. What makes people sacrifice self-interest to do something that makes someone else's life better?

So many things. Life. Anything. Everything.

The traditional Greek Muses were born of Zeus and Memory, and I feel Memory's influence keenly in what draws my attention. More than her daughters, she prods me. But more than ancient mythology, a medieval sense of pilgrimage defines how I perceive my inspirations. I've spoken here of writing as pilgrimage; a journey with intention. No aimless ramble, however entertaining. A feckless choice of path, however, can be as inspiring as one chosen carefully, as long as it is traveled with intent.

What kind of intent? For me, most often, it's the intent to learn. To pick up rocks to see what they look like on the other side, and what's beneath them. To poke into the sound and meaning of a word, looking at how the individual components, phonetic, morphological, syntactic or semantic influence all the others and are shaped by them in turn. To delve into DNA analysis to see where our ancestors came from long, long years ago.

So that's my answer. My greatest Muse is Pilgrimage, those journeys undertaken with the intent to learn whatever lessons come along, to traverse paths that welcome mystery and tempt me to discover what I do not know. Memory whispers in my ear as I walk, and her daughters dance along with us, different Muses on different pages of each book, each day, each step.


Unknown said...

Ah, if I call my travels pilgrimmages, are they tax deductible?

Seriously, thank you for a lovely post!!!!

Sophie Littlefield said...

As always your words are beautiful...I am so glad to have you home!

L.G.C. Smith said...

Mysti, call it research. Then it's tax deductible.

Sophie, it's really good to be home. Thanks!

I finally got my internet connection working about five minutes ago. It had something to do with Bob's new computer excluding my laptop from the network. A handy download fixed it, so now I can catch up with everyone else's posts.

Rachael said...

Oh, lovely.... the pilgrimage... Yes.

Gigi Pandian said...

"Trees. Rocks. Ruins. Landscapes... Anything unknown that's left clues about what happened before."

I love that. I'm in total agreement with you here.