Friday, September 3, 2010

The Other Nine Muses

As everyone knows everyone who got taught by Jesuits knows, the Muses are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory). And as everyone also knows, Zeus pretty much screwed around with any female he could find, as everything from a bull to a swan to a good stiff breeze. And one of those females was Mnemosyne’s twin sister, Lethe (Forgetfulness). Given that Lethe had the power to make even the gods forget things, if he remembered it at all, Zeus probably thought he was fooling around with Memory. But the fact remains that his union with Lethe also had nine offspring, the so called Amnestai, the Unremembered Muses, who are, according to the lost appendix of Hesiod’s Theogony, also nine in number, and named as follows:

Chariclea, the muse of delays. The closer you get to completing something, the more she gets your attention. She can usually be found inhabiting your spouse or significant other, and saying things like, "Will you please come to bed?" "Wanna go out for a drink?" and "We have to talk."

Atelesia, the muse of the unfinished. Probably the busiest of all the Muses, Atelesia inspires all writers at least once, and abandons anyone who actually finishes something. Rumored to be the most pleasure-giving of all 18 muses, Atelesia's favors are enjoyed the most by writers with day jobs.

Peripoleia, the muse of getting sidetracked. This particular Muse, like a faulty GPS system, always highlights roads with great scenery that lead either nowhere or as far as possible from your original destination. She's overly fond of saying things like, "Oh look. There's a stable. Let's stop and play with the horses," or, "Hey, y'know what? If you're going to write something about Nazis, I know 20 good books to read!" Which is why she is also the muse of excessive research.

Apergasia, the muse of perfectionism. You'll know her when you see her. You just won't be able to describe her to anybody else. Or, rather, you'll start to describe her, and if somebody doesn't stop you, you'll spend the rest of your life looking for the right words to bring her to life to someone else. Also known as the muse of perpetual foreplay.

Apageia, the muse of doing everything but actually sitting down to write. The second-busiest of all the Muses, Apageia is also the prettiest of them all, and the only one who never puts out. I mean never. Not once. Not for you, not for anyone. She is the Prom Queen of the Muses. The only thing that gets into her pants is lint. Keep telling yourself that as she smiles at you. It might actually help you to write something now and then. But whatever you do, don't show her anything you create. She'll think it sucks, and you'll believe her.

Lepodeia, the muse of trifles. Currently presides over blog items, television news, Facebook, and most of the Internet.

Atopia, the muse of total originality. The good news is, if you’re lucky, you actually get touched by her once in your life. The bad news is, you’ll only find out she touched you about fifty to a hundred years after you’re dead.

Acheira, the Muse Without Hands, who is the muse of writer’s block. Along with Atelesia and Apageia, part of a triumvirate referred to as the Devoir Sisters in old French chansons and tales of King Arthur, whose influence can only be thwarted or checked by a blood sacrifice.

Eumeithea, the muse of writing in bars. Used to haunt the Cedar Tavern, Chumley’s and the Lion’s Head. Currently homeless.

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