“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton
We all need things, people, places or occurrences that help us live and not only exist. These are things that inspire us, motivate us, move us, push us, pull us, force us to rise, to fly, to run, to walk, to crawl, to move, to act and to feel alive. All of us are artists irrespective of the finesse we have or the recognition we get. Art needs inspiration and the English language has provided us with a beautiful word for the same, MUSE, often defined as the driving force or the inspiration that makes an artist create.
Today let’s talk about that inseparable need we all have that most of us even fail to recognise the need for. Even the ones who do recognise this need and identify the things fulfilling their need dismiss them as mere distractions. Only a few brave souls try and translate this meaning they derive from their muse into something tangible. These brave souls go by the name of fools for most part and sometimes (rarely) as artists. So for once let’s try and have a look into such a fool’s life in his own words.
Have you ever felt the colours melt into each other in the evening creating a colour palette that you hadn’t seen before? Ever felt the sun soothe your eyes and take you into a state so tranquil that you hardly know the difference between real and surreal? Ever felt the evening breeze taking away all the chaos from your life and ushering in a calm that was all you had ever hoped for? Ever felt the birds whispering to you all the answers that you had been looking for? Ever felt that the nature is conspiring for you to meet yourself?
Have you ever felt a sunset?
As you might have guessed already, I’m going to talk about sunsets as my muse. Cliched topic with clichded ideas, cliched descriptions and cliched reactions. So I’ll add another cliched saying, cliches exist for a reason. Even if it has been spoken about time and again I wish to speak about sunsets because they are my muse and trust me it is a very convenient, cheap and effective one to maintain. It never fails me and it accompanies me to every place as a companion. It helps me think through my problems, contemplate my actions, construct my plans, reinforce my beliefs and discuss my life with me. They are my go-tos whenever I need someone or something to help me get through times rough. Sunsets do that for me. Sunsets inspires me to rise, to create and to not stop.
A sunset is the last line in every page of life’s book. Every sunset you miss is the last line from a page you just turned and can never return back to. To say we all have limited number of sunsets accorded to us and with every one that you miss you miss an opportunity to witness a sight that can stop time and rid you of all your chaos.
Gazing into the infinity by a beachside to look for the point on the horizon where the sun forges the sky and the sea together by its fire during a sunset is my way of disposing off all the junk that gets accumulated in my head. Breathing in the golden shimmer that mountains create with the sun striking their snow crowns while going down is my way of soaking in all the energy that the universe has on offer. Being lost in my thoughts by a lakeside while watching the sun descend from the heavens to the water-world is my way of taking all the important decisions in life. Sharing a cup of tea with my loved ones while the sun changes its hues from yellow to orange is my way of prioritising people. Stopping every day to witness the spectacle that a sunset is and to soak in all the love that it brings in its warmth is my way of being grateful for my existence.
All of us are quite busy in our lives doing things we have been trained to believe are important and trying to build a future for ourselves that we have been told is good for us. I am doing that too, no exceptions there. But we are all meaning seeking beings and there are some things we all do that are anti-good for us, things like sports, art, dance, photography, writing and the list goes on and on basically anything that keeps you away from a being an MNC CXO. These things are all that we do for ourselves out of our foolishness and lack of good judgement. These things need an inspiration, a driver who compels you to do such things, it can be anything and nothing and this driver is different for all of us. For me this driver is a sunset. It is where I get my inspiration from to deviate from the ‘right’ path and harm myself.
This harm that I cause to myself is voluntary and without any regrets, these are mistakes that I will choose to do every single time given an option for this is something I do truly out of my own will exercising the agency that I command as a being to express myself and to be more like what I am and what I want to be instead of what I should be or what I can be. Creative expression is not only to signify your skills, your talent or your abilities but to express yourself, to create manifestations of yourself that define you.
Creative expression and sharing your art are two different things and I do not intend to use them one for the other. Choosing to sharing your art or not is a choice that is another aspect of your agency as a being and is completely upto you. As we get comfortable with our art we gradually start sharing it. And not all of us might be comfortable with the idea of sharing manifestations of ourselves with other for we may feel vulnerable and exposed. If one chooses not to share their art with anyone at all, it’s perfectly fine but the important part is to not stop creating. For the day you stop creating, you stop expressing yourself.
Anything and everything that makes you want to give it your own meaning, a meaning that would make the thing yours forever, is your muse. You can have as many muses as you may want and there is no commitment that they ask for. Just be inspired and act on the inspiration, a muse asks for nothing more. A muse can be someone’s eyes, someone’s smile, a person, a group, a name; a word, a line, a book, an author, a story; a note, a rhythm, an instrument, a song, lyrics, a singer, a band; a sunrise, a sunset, a window, clouds, a rainbow, your car, an image, a sound, the Eiffel Tower; a muse can literally be anything that can exist or one can imagine. I haven’t yet found out a possibility of finding a muse in something that one can not imagine but if you can, go ahead and make it your muse, there’s just no rule or an authority to say what moves you and what doesn’t. It all depends on you and you are the master of your muse, you have the power to make anything out of your muse.
You might believe that I romanticise things too much and probably it is done here too. I won’t shy away from the accusation nor would I give any clarification. I’ll ask you a simple question. Have you ever felt a sunset, not seen but felt?
If you liked the post then please do share this with your friends and artists that you may know.
Let me know what your muse is, I’d love to hear what moves you.
Written by: Vandit Sawansukha