Taken from Wikipedia, (cut and pasted – not entire content)
The nine muses are :Clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsichore, Urania, Melpomene
The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry and literature, are the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths.
The Muses, the personification of knowledge and the arts, especially literature, dance and music, are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified). Hesiod’s account and description of the Muses was the one generally followed by the writers of antiquity. It was not until Roman times that the following functions were assigned to them, and even then there was some variation in both their names and their attributes:
Calliope -epic poetry
Euterpe -flutes and lyric poetry
Thalia -comedy and pastoral poetry
Erato -love poetry
Polyhymnia -sacred poetry
Antiquity set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetēs (“Apollo Muse-leader”). Not only are the Muses explicitly used in modern English to refer to an artistic inspiration, as when one cites one’s own artistic muse, but they also are implicit in words and phrases such as “amuse”, “museum” (Latinised from mouseion—a place where the muses were worshipped), “music”, and “musing upon”.
The Online Thesaurus had this to say about muse:
- the source of an artist’s inspiration; “Euterpe was his muse”
- germ, source, seed – anything that provides inspiration for later work
- reflect deeply on a subject
- meditate, mull, mull over, ponder, chew over, think over, excogitate, reflect, ruminate, speculate, contemplate
- cerebrate, cogitate, think – use or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments; “I’ve been thinking all day and getting nowhere”
- premeditate – think or reflect beforehand or in advance
- theologise, theologize – make theoretical speculations about theology or discuss theological subjects
- introspect – reflect on one’s own thoughts and feelings
- bethink – consider or ponder something carefully
- cogitate – consider carefully and deeply; reflect upon; turn over in one’s mind
- wonder, question – place in doubt or express doubtful speculation
- puzzle – be uncertain about; think about without fully understanding or being able to decide
- consider, study – give careful consideration to
A good writer-friend of mine uses music and videos as his muse to inspire his writing. An entire epic novel is forming from his videos. I find it fascinating how the videos are leading his story, practically without his will. He started with a basic theme, and as he peruses through videos, one leads to the next which leads to the next and so on. Although his novel is not yet complete, he has an entire audio and visual sound track leading his way.
I am often surprised at the direction my own stories take, even though I am a “planner” and use an outline to write. I recently realized that all my stories include children and the legal system. That was never my intention, but it is a common thread. Perhaps my muse is Melpomene and my theme is children’s rights and protection under the law. Hmm.
What is your muse? What inspires you to write?