The seduction of the muse: Creative Climax, Artistic Orgasm and the Line between Genius and Madness!
“They” say there is a fine line between genius and madness within the minds of creatives and artists. I say they’ve never felt the muse come to them, press up against them in a moment of mundane meandering and whisper gently in their ear, with a breath of inspiration that circles the auricle like a warm, wet tongue around the targus; plunging a lyric, melody, picture, cure, invention or string of words deep into their soul. Their heart’s have never quickened, veins engorged, blood flowed fast with images streaming, arousing a swirling build-up of ideas, inspiration, and creative desire simply because of a thought. They have never had an idea tease them like a sensual dancer on stage or invade their mind like a scent of fragrance and pheromones that is everywhere and all consuming. They’ve never grabbed the face of an idea, pressed up into it, desperately almost ferociously, needing, wanting, begging for the rapture that will come.
They don’t even realize the whisper or the frenzy of the initial inspiration is only the beginning! Fantasy foreplay, build-up, tension, singular focus on but one thing... Creation. A song, a perfectly lighted picture, an invention or story. These things that are not, with intimate connection and communion with the muse… become. That which was not, takes shape. The face of David, hewn from rock. The beloved Lenore’s raven given but one word, “nevermore.” The first shot of electricity through tungsten filament igniting a lust for containable light. What was not, like the tension between lovers builds into something bigger than either of them alone.
Creative juices flow, sounds blend, lyrics form, colors and shapes appear on canvas. Genius moments, like the cadence of lovemaking, come again and again and everything else is lost to the lovers, the Creative and the Muse. Passion, pleasure, desire and need, pushing, pulling, panting to a climax. A finished thought, a successful trial, a wave crashing up and out, and again it comes up and out in shutters of victory. Groans of pleasure, sighs of release, sweaty exhaustion. Ultimate satisfaction!
But… sometimes… “they” never know what torture it is to be wrapped up in the body of an idea that will not give over. It is maddening to pour all the thought, feeling and emotion inside into a thing that will not come! The artist or inventor learns the favorite points to test, taste, touch and tease. The creative senses when pressure needs to be applied and when only a breath to the neck or tongue gently brushing the lips of the lyric will do. Yet when rhythm and flow take over, climax still will not come. It’s a frenzy to make it happen, this thing that refuses to culminate. It is humiliation at the admission that it would not come. Not this time. And the muse, once so tightly entwined, fades away. And the creative, once so highly aroused, hangs head in frustration.
And the desire will come again. And the creation will be worth the climax or the risk of utter failure.
“They” must understand it is impossible to stop. Because when it does come, it is genius! “They” must know that when it doesn’t… it’s always… almost… there, this thing that is not. This gift to the world itself, it is waiting and it will come.
Then the world, the real world, pulls at the Creative, this odd, strange, eccentric, uncommon, quite unorthodox soul. But the creative knows the creation is for the world. It is legacy, protégé, a gift to humanity. We must be mad in order to share beauty or innovation with a world of ordinary people. The creative soul must be free to embrace the muse. And yet must, or at least should, return, even if only momentarily to what is real.
It is genius. It is madness. It is obsession. It is the essence of a creative. We are souls caught up in our passions and the world is better for our madness, even if sometimes our own souls are not.
I am a dog run over.
Life… hit me… left me for dead on the side of the road. I was crossing, simply crossing, ignorant of the dangers that lay ahead, just getting from there to here. The car hit me out of nowhere. I lay there, hurt, beyond help, alone and afraid.
I whimper, I beat my tail on the pavement but I am helpless.
I cannot do this. Cars go pass, most fast, some slow. I am breathing, quick, shallow, painful breaths. I am dying. I feel the life-blood oozing out of me even as I tell my paws to move, will my body to get up and run to help but.... I stagger, I stumble, I fall. I cannot. I am dying.
I am a dog run over.
I am helpless. The cars go by quickly, furiously, each filled with a person or persons with a place to go, a thing to do… they drive and I bleed. Helpless and alone. I am afraid. I am stuck. I am hurt. I am dying.
Then he comes to save me.
He sees where the blood flows from me. He tries to stop it. He touches me and I snap at him. It hurts and I am ferocious in my fear and pain! I bite. I draw his blood. He pulls back, with curses. I am wounded and he is trying to touch the pain, I do not know what else to do. I growl. His hand recoils… bloodied… and he leaves.
I am alone. I am hurt. I am dying.
She comes. Again I snap… she recoils, moves far off. I have frightened her away.
And… again I am alone. I am hurt. I am dying.
She calls Him and He comes. This Savior, this One who is not afraid. I know when I see Him that He is strong enough. His hands are covered in thick, dark, leather gloves. They are impenetrable. He sees my pain and knows how to handle me despite it.
He is the Healer. He is the Counselor. He talks to me with words I cannot understand. I snap yet He is undeterred. He applies pressure firmly on the parts torn up and also to my muzzle. He is stronger than my pain (though it rips me apart), impervious to my defenses (though I struggle and fight with all the strength I have left) and carries me to the place of surgery.
He holds me and heals me. It is not an easy task, I am a feisty dog… even if I am run over. It is not a quick task. It takes time to mend the injuries, to strengthen the broken bones, to stitch up what was torn open.
I am unwell.
I lay many days, with minimal interaction because I am afraid, because I snap, because I hurt. But He comes, touching the wounds, not to hurt but to heal, to insure they are mending. I understand this now as I could not before. He hurts me to help me. I do not bite the hand that helps me anymore.
Slowly… ever so slowly I trust His face, His touch. He is kind, He is good. He means me no harm, but His hands don’t always deliver kindness. He pats my head, then removes the bandages, exposes the pain, makes sure the healing is progressing.
It is not easy. It is not fun. It is pain. It is healing.
In time, I look forward to his visits tough I cannot say why. I want Him, though He hurts me. His voice begins to somehow soothe me, even as His hands force joints to move that do not want to bend, pull stitches out that are stuck in place and push and press on places still raw and tender to the touch. He is a Healer and despite the pain, I long for His voice, if not His touch.
Slowly, ever so slowly, like His face, I trust His voice. The words He speaks refresh me. His voice strengthens me. He gives me a name I never knew I had.
And He walks with me. And He talks with me. And He tells me that I am His own. And the joy we share... as we tarry there, none other, has ever known!
In time, I can smell Him before I even see Him or hear Him or feel Him. I know Him. He is mine, and I am His and... I love Him! He comes to me and my tail wags. Moving is still hard, pain is still a part of my life, but … with His patience, His wisdom, His touch, His words... I am healing!
Someday, I won't flinch at His caress but lean into it. Someday, I will walk up to Him and hoist my paws onto His chest. Someday, I will be well enough to run beside Him. Someday, He will throw a stick or ball and I will run fast and free to catch what he throws out for me…
But for now… all I can do is heal. I am not well but… I am safe in His care.
And, I will get better. I am mending
But for now my job is to heal.
For now, I am grateful for He who braved the pain to come to me, to save me, to stand with me, pet me, soothe me, stay with me at my worst, celebrate my healing and participate in my restoration.
I am a dog run over, redeemed from the side of the road. I am healing… I am OK.
I’ve gotten pretty deep lately, it’s time to lighten things up! This whole “me in The Middle” process has revealed a few things.
It started with my new wardrobe.
False; it started with growing up in a family of mostly boys. I grew up tom-boy… but I didn’t know it. Compared to the boys I was girlie and I liked pink very much, but the finer gentle sides of femininity were lost on me.
When my kids fell down, I dusted the dirt off and told ‘em to get back out there. Apparently mama’s are supposed to give loves and cuddles and shush the child back to “all better.” Missed the mark there, a little spit to wipe the blood off and they were good! My kids are tough, what can I say?!
Also… apparently if a guy is making eyes at you and he’s being prodded by a buddy to come say hi… an appropriate feminine response is to tuck one’s head toward a shoulder in a coy, submissive fashion, whilst batting eyes and flicking hair, as opposed to my opened arm bellow, “I’m right here, yo!” For the record… he didn’t come over but my wing-chick and I did get offered a drink by another nice guy.
Then, there’s this inviting men to dinner thing! First of all, this is an evil unspoken rule of the male population and, somehow, though I grew up around men… this knowledge escaped me. The rule goes like this, if a woman invites you to dinner at “her” place… it implies something more than dinner is gonna be cookin!!! Who knew?! I, for one, did not! Then a kind man explained it to me. I thought it a lame rule but…
After this unspoken rule was revealed things that didn’t make sense… clicked! I thought back and realized that some of my former male students that I’d had to my house before (when I was married) suddenly couldn’t make it to dinner. Buddies who were otherwise pretty normal got weirded out by the invitation. I didn’t have that issue with any lady students or friends. I realized the rule was a thing!! I was MORTIFIED that I’d been giving that impression.
Then it got worse! A close friend “assumed” I was sleeping with a guy. How could that assumption be made about me?! I’ve done my best to make it clear to everyone my choice is to be abstinent right now for myself and for my faith. I don’t want to give that impression, and yet apparently I was. I got mad because I thought it was lame that I couldn’t invite men over to my house for dinner but then I thought about it and realized who I WASN’T inviting for dinner... None of the guys I date ever come for dinner! Ok, well, one did after quite a while and nothing happened, my boys can attest to it. But it made me realize that maybe I also “knew” the rule but only employed it with certain males, I'm still pondering the "why" of that one.
So, I'm learning to give more loves and less spit cleans, to bat my eyes instead of challenging a man to ask for my number and to not invite men to my house for dinner!
Back to the wardrobe... As my divorce finalized and I entered into The Middle I wanted to define myself in a way that said, “I’m not going to wallow in self-pity any longer!” I asked my girl-friend with amazing style and flair to help me. She graciously accepted, sat down on my oversized couch, patted the cushion beside her, and when I sat, asked what style I was going for. I told her I wanted to look pretty like her, she said she wanted to clarify because I had a sort of tough-girl theme going on with what I wore. We went through my wardrobe and threw out most of the dark colors and stark, straight lines.
She took me shopping (a thing I loathe but have decided I need to do at times because minimalist doesn't necessarily equate to cheap). She outfitted me in florals and frills and color and flowy things that made my heart sing. After sporting my new look for a couple weeks I overheard a cubicle conversation, the gist of which was that, yes, I really have come into a more feminine version of myself but… “She still does have boyish tendencies, doesn’t she?” one co-worker joked. They all giggled in their girlish way and I told them in a very un-girlish way that I was right there and could totally hear them… they just laughed louder.
I guess, the moral of this little blog post is… you can put me in flowers and pastels but I’ll always be a little boyish and tough. But y’all know you love me... and, anyway, I can still flex in ruffles so there!
I put about 25 miles on these little old feet of mine, 15 of them in one never-ending hike that had me wanting my mommy. I found 13 waterfalls this weekend... and I admit, I trespassed! I did! ... and I was not alone; this time my partner in adventure (and quite literally in crime) was Justin, my eldest son, and together we conquered many of the most noted waterfalls on the Peninsula!
It was a whirlwind, with many lessons, treasures and lovely moments along the way.
I think the biggest take away of the entire trip for me was that I love to move; and within the rigorous, monotonous, sometimes painful rhythm of moving, my thoughts shake out and settle like flour through a sieve...
I ought to learn to take time to still myself and marinate in a moment, or two, or maybe even more than that. To sit, to be still, to allow what will be to simply be. I ought to fully experience all that can be smelled, seen, tasted, touched and heard. This vacation was cram packed with hikes and adventures and points of interest. We got there, we saw that, we left and ventured on to the next... It was rewarding, exhilarating and rejuvenating! The loooooonnnnnnggggg hike up to the Flapjack Lakes waterfalls was grueling and insightful. I can honestly say I do not think I could sit and watch a waterfall for as long as I moved forward on the trail but ... a weekend of crazy amazing waterfall hunting made me realize how much subtly I may be missing at my break-neck pace through life. It's a deep thought for me, to "be" in a moment and let the moment waft through my mind for more than seconds, to give it plenty of time to soak in and saturate my being. Since the thought beckoned me so sweetly, yet persistently, whilst in the middle of my movement I am sure the LORD is pushing me to grow in an area of weakness, to learn to embrace stillness. I will be more mindful of moments and not just achievements.
What a rush to partner with my son on multiple hikes, to put 15 miles in in one day and to find 13 waterfalls in three days!!!! Awwww yeah! We did this! Enjoy!
Summer is here! It’s time to get out in the woods, in the trees, away from lights and people and noise and into Creation.
I’m going camping!!
Camping shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is. I didn’t camp last year but before that it was a staple of “our” life. There was a year or two that life, and work and lack of planning got the best of us and we missed it, but for the most part we were a family that loved Creation. We got out into it as much as we could. I missed it last year but I was blessed to have my mountain, my writing room, and my Leavenworth, so I was reminded every weekend, as the tourists drove up Icicle, that I lived where they came to camp.
This year, I set my mind on camping.
Why is it such a big deal?!
Because, for all my hours in the gym, I’m a girl (a 5’, $1.30 soaking wet, girl)? No, ok well, a tiny bit. Because I’m unattached? A little. Because I’m in charge? YES! There are plenty of ladies out there that like doing it themselves, and enjoy proving their independent side. Not me, which is ironic since I’ve been told (more than once) I have a very strong masculine persona. I don’t want to be in charge. Never have. I’m just Italian with ADHD and will interrupt you to tell you what’s up if you’re not making sense.
I’m a follower. I’ve joked for years that that’s why I got in trouble as a kid, because I followed. And it’s the truth. I say, “I do what I want” but I prefer taking direction. I’m a great follower, helper and contributor. You want me on your side because I will win the masses for you! I thrive there. And I’m unashamed. I am a follower! I’m strong, I’m opinionated, I’m sure of who I am, and who I am in Christ… and I prefer to follow. I’ve learned I need to seek leaders I can respect and stand with 100% but I feel my best when I’m in a support role.
How, exactly, does that tie into camping? I’ll tell you how, because I’m the lead on this, that’s how. I don’t want to be in charge. But I want to camp. No one is telling me what to do, therefore, by default, I must lead if I want to camp. I accept full responsibility for anything that goes wrong. And that’s scary!
I’ve chosen this for The Middle. I would rather be strong and brave and courageous and do this… even if I am afraid, than whine and wish and not go. I would rather do the things I do not want to do partner-less than choose a partner on a whim, so I have someone to keep me safe for a moment, who will leave when he’s tired of my alpha tendencies, or when the wind changes. I would rather take this time, take this risk, take this life as it is, not as I would have it be, than screw things up again.
Honestly, I’m not in danger. I will not be alone, just unattached. The chances of the car breaking down on the way are slim. The odds that a bad guy will attack me are minimal. And, well, sorry to break it to you, but Sasquatch isn’t real… so he’s not a threat. I’ll be fine.
I can feel the fear and I can do it anyway! I am not who I was, waiting for someone to drive me where we’re going (although that’s what I prefer). I am new, and I will enjoy life, and Creation, and waterfalls, and time with people I care about, and railroad bridges and the wild, wonderful respite that comes from pine needles and green Coleman stoves.
I guess, in part, the fear is getting used to being alone, doing it my way, taking direction from no one. Some women like it and, assuredly, I’ve been accused of being too strong. But I’m not… really! If you keep my secret… the truth is… I am weak and delicate and afraid that one more Leaving will, quite literally, kill me. I don’t want to be alone, but I will be, for now, for The Middle, to be sure that I find a partner who will not leave me, who I can be sure of, who accepts me, as I am, for my strength and my fragility. I will be alone for now but not forever. AND… I am going to enjoy this summer of camping! It’ll be chaos and irony and good times with good people or all by myself and either way I will have fun!