Tag Archives: muses

1482. The Peripatetic Muse

Creative people think that there are nine Muses. In fact, there are ten, and I happen to be the tenth. I am known as the Peripatetic Muse because my job is to move from one Muse position to another, so that the nine traditional Muses can take their annual vacation in turn.

Of course, each Muse takes a month off, so I get to operate for them for nine months of the year. The remaining three months I spend planning and preparing for my next nine month stint.

I don’t fill in for each Muse along the same lines as each. For example, when I replace Thalia for a month I’m not inspiring comedy writers to create comedies. When I replace Erato for a month I’m not inspiring poets to pen love poetry.

My function is different. It’s why you never hear of me, because it would ruin my ability to operate freely. Ever heard of writer’s block? That’s me! I help people write comedies (and even tell jokes) that aren’t funny or happy. My task is to make lovers write such appalling doggerel that relationships end in tatters. I inspire aspiring artist to toss their notebooks into the fire. Replacing Calliope is my favourite; I make people compose bombastic crap. When replacing Polymnia several years ago I had my greatest triumph: I invented rap.

Naturally (don’t we all?) I have a wee hobby on the side. I inspire people to write blogs. But shhhh! Don’t tell a soul.

702. Muses and Fates


Laurabella was a poet. She wrote a poem every day and posted it. Poems oozed out of her like pus from an infected scab. It oozed not just every day, but often all day every day. The verses would tumble out as fast as she could type. Up on Mt Olympus Polyhymnia remarked to Calliope that, as Laurabella’s Muse, she was absolutely exhausted trying to keep up.

Then suddenly, Laurabella stopped creating poetry. The Muses on Mt Olympus were relieved. At last they could have a rest.

These days it’s recipes. Recipes tumble out of Laurabella’s keyboard like slop in a pig’s trough. She can’t cook for nuts, and she hasn’t tested a single recipe, but her recipes pages have the biggest number of followers this side of the Yangze River.

But… oh! no!… What’s this? Laurabella is now posting her recipes in verse form. Her two creative urges rolled into one! She is becoming the Julia Child of the Poetry Anthologies. The Muses are unamused. They have phoned the three Fates. “And,” shouted Polyhymnia to Atropos, “bring your scissors to cut her thread of life!”

At once! shouted the Nine Muses. At once! shouted the Three Fates.

Listen the story being read HERE!

(Apologies for the mispronunciation of Atropos in the audio, but everyone in my household is still asleep and I don’t want to wake them by re-recording at this early morning hour!)

Poem 13: They upped and left


I called on the Muses.
Help! I said.
They upped and left.

You’re so incompetent, they said,
we don’t want to have anything to do with you even if you wrote a Miltonic epic, so
they upped and left.

As you can see the Muses have well and truly gone, disappeared down the plughole, just like that, and all I wanted was a bit of help writing a couple of iambic pentameters or something, but oh! no!
they upped and left.

That’s going to be the last time I call on the Muses for a hand because they’re so up themselves and so choosy who they help out like Shakespeare and Hemmingway and Flannery O’Connor and all them guys as well as Emily Dickinson and what’s-his-name but not me apparently because I really really suck and anyway, according to some pictures I’ve seen, the Muses are not too hot themselves especially their view from behind as they leave and they certainly don’t have much dress sense and you know what? they lower the tone so I’m glad
they upped and left.

Anyway, as you can see (ahem),
I’m not doing too bad without them.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.