There are many Muses

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"No Muse-poet grows conscious of the Muse except by experience of a woman in whom the Goddess is to some degree resident. A Muse-poet falls in love, absolutely, and his true love is for him the embodiment of the Muse..."
-- Robert Graves, The White Goddess

I think it's pretty generally agreed that most artists have multiple Muses. We often only find out about it via memoirs, biographies, or deconstructionist readings (in which case it's sometimes news to the artist as well), but even those who are known for a single Muse often have some youthful flings, engage in a pattern of serial monogamy or cheat just a little. And of course the same person can be a Muse for multiple artists, sometimes even ones that she* doesn't know. This opens up all kinds of possibilities -- and makes Muses a great way of thinking about non-exclusivity and win/win opportunities.

"Creative work comes out of an intense and passionate involvement -- almost as if with a lover, as one (the artist) interacts with the "other" to bring something into being"
-- Jean Shinoda Bolen, Goddesses in Everywoman

Many of my poems and stories have multiple Muses. The anomaly and the goddesses and poems such as Many paths many truths and Elements are not just to multiple muses, at some level they're about having multiple muses. Sometimes the muses are directly credited: Fountains of light is to "for the gemstones and elements that are the women of Seducersworld". Sometimes they're explicit or implicit in the poem's text. Sometimes they're less visible, like the four uncredited Muses for Solitude. Interactions can be complex: the poem cycle Space of desire is for D, and some of individual poems (The journey and In the space of desire, for example) have multiple Muses. All nine of the classical muses are here as well, along with quite a few other goddesses.

Topics still to cover:

  • Goddesses, Elements, Muses, and muses
  • post-publication Muses
  • win/win, artists, and Muses

See also: There are many truths, Many paths many truths, Many truths many paths

* While muses come in all varieties, and there are notable exceptions like the Muse of Michalangelo's David, as an archetype she is typically gendered female or trans. See Genesis' The muse on Seducersworld for more. Artists, by contrast, may be gendered male, female, or trans. Artists can be Muses as well; one good example is Sappho, who has been called the "The Tenth Muse".