Muses, Wings and Mongolia

“Meanwhile, I accept my despair as a trailer for my flight. I know it will come some time” Jules Spinatsch.

More than the photos perhaps, these words jumped out from the canvas onto which they were printed and ingrained themselves on my memory recently. They were in fact only meant to accompany the real highlight, the images of the photographer at an exhibition called Real Venice, I visited at Somerset House in London only a couple of months ago. The exhibition was a fundraiser for my favourite city in the world. I was killing time.

Now 2011 is behind us, a year into which following an old Danish tradition I quite literally leapt off a precariously balanced chair with a glass of champagne to appease the Gods of luck, it’s now time to, if not ‘fly’, then at least start testing the wings. This piece, picking up the mantle of my previously much loved blog, has been a long time in coming. It has not been a year in which I have flown little, I have in fact literally had to come to Outer Mongolia, to find the inspiration and determination to try ‘taking off’ again. However, all flying this year has been on other people’s planes and very little under my own steam.

It’s fair to say 2011 involved a fair bit of if not flying, then flapping around. On wings that were certainly not ready courses were plotted and take offs made that under normal circumstances would never have been contemplated let alone attempted. I spent a great deal of time this year berating myself for the route chosen over the past 6 years. I, convinced I was stearing towards a clear goal, turned out to have the compass 180 degrees in the wrong direction. When this in no uncertain terms was made clear, I crashed and blamed myself for this erroneous flight. ‘What a second rate pilot you are’ I thought and immediately took off again, convinced it was just a matter or resetting the compass and the confidence of flying in the right direction would make everything easier. Now, finally I have come to not entirely blame neither my compass, map or even flying skills. It simply turned out not to be a course right for that particular two-seater. I would be a fool if I didn’t take onboard lessons from this past flight, but now trying again, it is a relief to find didn’t need to turn the compass 180 degrees. I am perhaps after all not the worlds worst navigator. A 90 degree change of course is enough. I am not entirely at fault for my previous course and I find myself flying now over sure new, but also familiar landmarks.

Speaking of planes, it was around this time last year, that my blog received a post outlining in great detail the equivalent number of jumbo jets which would be required to carry its total audience throughout the year. This year, I have received no such congratulatory note. At the time I remember being quite taken aback by the quantity of people who had at least visited the site and the thought of a few of them actually reading it. It spurred me on to write more. However events were to unfold which would reveal that unbeknown to me at the time, I would only need a two seater plane for the quantity of people it mattered to me read my articles. In this I don’t include the pilot.

The ancient Greeks and later their Roman cousins had the Muse. They were Goddesses who inspired the creation of literature and arts. It’s fair to say Shakespeare makes a big deal out of them. In Romeo in Love, which I think is a great film, the literary hero takes a little time to discover the true embodiment of his muse and is at first captivated by what turns out to be a false one. In 2012 is it right to even nominate such words? It certainly sounds more than a little dated, and I acknowledge, melodramatic, but it would appear I too had mine. It does seem the most apt word. The lack of posts to my blog has not been for a lack of writing these past 12 months. The muse was very much still alive and inspirational in everything I did. But all my words were to prove in vain, succeeding only in chasing further away that which I sought to regain.

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction”, Antoine de Saint Exupery.

While I failed to take my eyes off the prize, she turned her head and stared firmly at the horizon. This is the first time I write once more, not for her, but for a new, unexplored, unknown audience. In many ways I am even rediscovering the author. So this, as well as articles I have ready for 2ndcupoftea and are soon to appear is not written with not one muse in mind, but simply for the words themselves and to see where they might take me. There is now hope. Perhaps it is time to give up silly notions of muses and romance. Robert Graves, urges me not to;

“a muse poet falls in love, absolutely and his true love is for him the embodiment of the muse… But the real, perpetually obsessed muse-poet distinguishes between the Goddess as manifest in the supreme power, glory, wisdom and love of a woman, and the individual woman whom the Goddess may make her instrument… The Goddess abides; and perhaps he will again have knowledge of her through his experience of another woman”.

On my travels, the ‘Goddess’ has not yet abided, but maybe this time I’d rather she stayed at home. If getting these words and thoughts out, more or less akin to how they appear in my head, without the quality suffering greatly, has had the de-blocking effect I hope, then for a while at least, let’s put muses to one side. It is time to rediscover the joy of writing, creating without the aid of such flighty creatures as Gods. The citizens of Athens famously cut off the wings of their statues of Nike, victory, that she might never fly away from their beloved Acropolis. Maybe I could have employed a similar tactic, maybe it was doing exactly this that lead to the ultimate downfall as it did for that glorious city?

However, of the wings of Goddesses I know little. What is clearer now, is that my wings, have regrown enough feathers for me no longer to accept any ‘state of despair’ and start flying once more, solo, thank you very much! First let’s make sure the wings are strong enough for one, before we start testing their ability to carry two again.

“What saves a man is to take a step. And then another step”. Antoine de Saint Exupery

~ by 2ndcupoftea on January 10, 2012.

6 Responses to “Muses, Wings and Mongolia”

  1. And may those wings bring you to many fun places and with some great adventures to create new memories! Great to see you back “in print”!

    • THANK YOU Michelle! Thanks for the read and the support. I think this post, which has been brewing has burst the blister. There should be some more to follow… 😉

  2. Well said Michelle, and also you Tommy boy. You do write very interesting articles.

    Looking forward to the next instalment of “Icarus and his wings”.

    Remember the past is exactly that! You can’t get the past back, it’s history, gone, etc. You will always have the memories, good and bad ones, these are what define us.

    I remember (think it was you guys) when you wrote about the anaconda hunt somewhere in South America and the guide got bit by one! Hell I nearly peed myself!

    When you are flying for two again, don’t forget li’l ole Guernsey.

    • My friend, thanks so much. The only reason I have not been there is just exactly as you say, to make sure the wings will bear me. Have been avoiding ‘memory’ places and few of these are stronger than Guernsey, once sure they are strong enough and your beautiful island won’t represent the sun of your Icarus metaphor, I’m there with bells on!

    • Ps. The whole thing would have been easier if there really were any ‘bad memories’ but maybe one day I’ll be happy there are not 😉

  3. Chekhov once said, “Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be.” I do not believe that I wholeheartedly subscribe to his hypothesis, but I do agree that love in all its forms and how we respond to it teaches us more about ourselves than any other experiences.

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