The first time my creative muse ever got me out of bed early was late 2008. My friend had recently died in a car accident. The incident had awakened me to the urgency of life. It was during this phase that I began to demand to know the deeper meanings and significance behind the clockwork of the universe. What unfolded is hard to describe, exactly, other than to say that I had a blinding insight: if I really wanted to know the answers to the questions I was asking, I would have to prove it. I started getting up at 4:00 a.m. to meditate. Don’t ask me how I motivated myself to do that.
I didn’t motivate myself. Something else motivated me.
I remember that same year, when I first started working at Starbucks. I was on the opening shift, which meant that I had to be at the store at 4:45 a.m. I figured out that if I were to get out of bed at 3:45, that would give me enough time to take a shower and get to work on time. For awhile, I got out of bed every single day at 3:15 to allow myself a half-hour to meditate before jumping in the shower.
Depression set in that year, and I failed to keep up that practice consistently. But the experience left a memory indelibly imprinted on my brain: yes, I am capable of getting out of bed early when something is important.
Fast-forward to 2010. I read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and that same year, I also read On Writing by Steven King. Both authors talk about the importance of having a personal “muse,” or a divine figure that puts wind in your sails. They both describe a muse as being a demanding figure that expects every writer to take the craft very seriously. Pressfield describes the muse in more classical terms, using the traditional nine daughters of Zeus from Greek mythology. Pressfield goes as far as to provide an incantation that he recommends speaking aloud each day before sitting down to write. King, on the other hand, describes the muse as a bald fat guy.
Is there actually a muse? Who knows. But I’ve come to the same conclusion about the muse that I came to about God. I cannot prove that the muse exists, but if he/she does exist, I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity that this would represent. And looking back over the past few years, there are some times when I was more motivated to write than conventional logic is capable of explaining. I have decided to adopt the view that, yes, I do have a muse, and that, yes, my muse is more willing than ever to breathe wind into my creative sails.
I decided today to live life as if my creative muse is watching me every second, reading my every word (including the ones that I “backspace” because I don’t have the guts to say them out loud) and listening to my every thought. I have decided to make a priority of getting to know my personal muse—of which there may be more than one. I can’t tell you exactly where this is going, but I can tell you that this morning, the muse got my ass out of bed early.
For that reason alone, I can already say that today was a good day.