Fiction, Musings, Opinion, Self discovery, Uncategorized

A Muse Me

Image by Community Photography 'now & then' via Flickr

Recently, a fellow writer picked up on the fact that I’d mentioned Anthony Tognazzini in one of my posts. “What happened to your usual muse,” she asked .

While the question was offered in jest, it was a good one.  Writers are often inspired by people or things in their life.  Some inspirations are instant and have no further meaning once the story has been told sufficiently.  For example, NPR sponsors a three-minute fiction contest (  The idea: they post a picture or a phrase and the contestants must write a story, six hundred words or less. Your muse is of their choosing.  Some muses while expected, are thrust upon us like an anchor.  Edward Hopper‘s muse, Jo insisted that she be the model for all of his paintings (Wood, 2004).  This was seen as a jealous gesture but technically she was his muse. I’ve often wondered if Hopper fantasized about other figures and fancier ladies.

Some muses find the artist. Once, while engaged in conversation with a beautiful gentleman regarding the perfect bottle of  Cousino-Macul, I was struck by the perfectness of the man’s mouth.  It wasn’t an attraction to the man but that mouth. I can recall thinking, “this man could talk me into anything,” and he did. After that interaction, I wrote a short story about that gentleman, I drew portraits of that gentleman, and ultimately I forgot about that gentleman.  But our true muse, the one that continuously inspires us is usually found while tackling the mediocrity of the stuff of life.  One doesn’t go searching or isn’t threatened into adopting a true muse.  When an artist finds his/her true muse, the  stories, the pictures, the art just happens.  A muse may be something of a painful nature.  For years I wrote about my multi-faceted relationship with my dad in fictitious form. Writing about that relationship and about any relationship as a work of fiction works for me.  What or who is your muse?  How did you find it or did it find you?  My current muse is a childhood friend.   I’m lucky in that he is a true philosopher but can also admit to mistakes.  We found each other in a world we didn’t quite fit into and didn’t quite know how to make it fit us.  As adults, not much has changed but the adventures have gotten pretty amazing. A lot of what I write is dedicated to my muse and in rediscovering him and in some ways myself over and over again.

By the way, if you are curious about my most recent inspiration, his name is Anthony Tognazzini.  He is a writer and teacher, living in NYC.  He taught me how to craft the perfect dialog and I think he’s fabulous.  His most recent book, I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These (, can be purchased on (http//


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