About the image:
It’s The Corinthian Maid, circa 1783-84, by Joseph Wright. I found this on one of my many frequent visits to the National Gallery of Art while assigned to the Money section at USA Today.
A postcard-sized version has been ensconced in an ornate frame on my desk for decades. To me, this seemed reflective of my relationship with my muse. Sometimes, she seems to be drawing ideas out of me. Sometimes, she seems to be using the implement to insert ideas into my brain.
Dumbledore’s magical pensieve struck a personal chord when I read of it and applied it to this painting. Oh, to have the magical ability to store all my great ideas and sort through them at my leisure.
The truth of the painting, I eventually learned, is that it depicts a practice that existed long centuries before photography – a young lady tracing her lover’s image on the wall before he goes off to war.
But this painting is not that single frozen moment in time.
It is a doorway. A portal.
My muse gives me a nudge, asking: “What happens next? What is their story?”
In answer, my writer’s brain kicks out a whirlwind of possible plots and subplots, story arcs and character arcs, scenes and themes, and writerly things.
And so the painting means all the things I wanted it to mean, and more.
What does your muse look like? How does it/he/she inspire you?