The Muse

I’m not a great creative individual by any stretch, but I do respect my muse and do *not* screw with it.

My friend kat passed along this letter by musician Nick Cave, which he wrote to MTV in 1996, in which he explained that his muse was “not a horse.”

My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature. She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!

Clarinetist Sidney Bechet called his marvelous memoir “Treat It Gentle.” The “it” wasn’t his instrument, or his or another person’s heart (oh, he was rough with those!); it was his muse, the mysterious source of his musical invention. That book scared the shit out of me. I know exactly what Cave means, above.

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