Now that it’s December and Thanksgiving has come and gone, I feel as though I can safely broach the C-word. Christmas. My Christmas muse to be exact. For centuries, many writers have claimed that a certain person, force, or source served as the inspiration for their work. Although a good majority of these motivational muses tended to be women—Dante had Beatrice, T.S. Eliot had Vivienne, John Keats had Fanny Brawne—mine is a conglomeration of both human talent and joyful spirit. An uplifting, creative spark generated by one thing and one thing only: instrumental Christmas music. (That seems logical, right? Christmas Muse-ic.)
While I most often prefer to write in silence, there are days when the words become lodged in the recesses of my too-busy mind, unclear and inaccessible, and I must coax them out. Next to journaling, music has always been my go-to for clearing the muck, but lyrics and writing are not a good mix for me. Any boost I may experience initially is lost when my train of thought tunes in to the words and I start singing instead of scripting. I decided I needed to find another avenue to open the floodgates. That’s when I stumbled upon the instrumental Christmas music channel on Pandora.
Aided by a Pandora-produced random blend of uber-talented artists such as Jim Brickman and Tim Janis and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (as well as Lorrie Line and Kenny G, whose holiday albums grace our CD player on a regular, rotating basis), the chatter stops, my breathing slows, and my fingers float across the keyboard as though dancing along with the gentle, moving melodies. After a few minutes, my focus sharpens, the music fades into the background, and my writing, which had moments before been stilted and stagnant, transforms into an easy and elegant flow. And that is the essence of a muse.
I will admit that this is a tactic I rely on regardless of the time of year. Yes, I am THAT person. I’m also the person who celebrates the arrival of Hallmark Christmas movies in October (shamelessly filling the DVR with all her favorites . . . sorry, honey!) and the crazy neighbor lady who refuses to skip over the Garth Brooks Christmas songs when they pop up on shuffle—even on speaker—while she’s working in the garden in July. What can I say? Apparently, my phone has it figured out. Because, really, when there is something so simple that inspires such joy and creativity, why would I want to limit it to just a handful of weeks out of the entire year?
So what about you? Do you have a muse? A specific person or spirit or source that elevates, enlivens, and encourages your creative side?