Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Guest-blogger Essayist and Playright Margaret Dulaney on 5 Reasons to Trust the Muse

Margaret Dulaney is the creator of the Spoken Word Website, Listen Well, an open-faith website which explores the divine through story and metaphor. Most of her "offerings," as she calls them, are hers, and charming they are: I like to listen to them while at lunch. You might like to settle on a bench under a lovely tree... Listen Well has also hosted Sophy Burnham, author of The Art of Intuition, reading from her book. No doubt a most marvelous muse prompted Margaret to create and launch Listen Well. Over to you, Margaret!

Five Reasons to Trust your Muse
by Margaret Dulaney

This morning while I was writing a piece for my Spoken Word Site, Listen Well, and as I sat searching for a particularly tricky word, in it popped, loud, sure, and handed to me, as I would hand a treat to my dog: POP, right in the mouth. “Nomenclature!” It bellowed.

“Oh there you go again, giving me words that I wouldn’t think of using, and of which I am not even sure I know the meaning.”

I open my dictionary, as I’ve done hundreds, perhaps thousands of times on such occasions. Of course the word was perfect; it couldn’t have been more perfect.

I am thoroughly convinced that I have a very well-educated, egg-headed muse that helps me put words together. I can almost see him. Yes, he is decidedly a him, (not sure why). I imagine him to be a departed soul who lived somewhere around the turn of the twentieth century. He adores Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Dickens, and interestingly enough, so do I! He has a tremendous respect for words, (like the Japanese, he believes that words have souls). He doesn’t mind my spelling at all, thinks it’s comical, but then I have been speaking more than printing lately.

Books of collected quotations are odious to him, he can be a terrible snob at times. I sense him sniffing, “short cuts” he mutters, “If you need a quote I’ll find it for you,” and he does! He’s remarkable! I will be lead, as if on leash, directly to the very line that most fits my need. Really, he is a darling. I know this would embarrass him to hear, but then come to think of it, he might have put the word darling in my head, he really is that clever. I am so grateful to him that I have imagined writing him a letter. It would go something like this.

Dear, dear friend,

Don’t ever think of getting another job!

Love, Margaret

Five reasons to trust the Muse

1) Muses have better vocabulary.

Words can be Sticky Wickets (11-16-2010); it’s best to trust an expert.

2) They are champs with a metaphor.
Mine gave me the image of a child scientist dissecting a frog for one of my Listen Well offerings, A Small Matter of Great Importance (1-16-2011). I was so grateful.

3) The Muse is like a floating library. Need a quote? Just ask!
They are the ones that search out and introduce you to writers that you might love. If you're lucky, they may be living!
Like C.M. Mayo and Sophy Burnham (2-15-2011).

4)They write by ear, and would never laugh at your spelling.
This funny piece from the Washington Post had me howling with painful empathy.

5) The Muse won’t show up unless you love what you’re writing.
Love seems to be the door through which the muse walks, be sure and clean your cottage well: Our Cottages.

--- Margaret Dulaney

---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blogs, click here. Recent guest-bloggers include Janice Eidus, Michael Hogan, Richard Goodman, Ellen Meeropol, and Roberta Rich.