Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Chariots and muses

There's a very good piece about writing written by Steven Pressfield I'm going to quote from today as it's been on my mind. I'd recommend reading the full piece, You as the Muse Sees You on his website. This is what he says about inspiration:

"Here’s how the Muse works. Each day she makes her rounds (I like to imagine her traversing the globe in a small, open-top space vehicle, kind of a cross between the Jetsons and the old Flash Gordon serials), carrying her bag full of ideas. She’s a bit like St. Nick, only instead of giving gifts to children she gives ideas to artists. To Beethoven she gives da-da-da-dum, to Stephen King she offers Carrie.

When the Muse gets to your place, she looks down from her little rocket ship. Are you in the studio? Before the easel? At the keyboard? You’re not? Okay. The goddess cuts you some slack for this truant day. She’ll check back tomorrow.

What? You’re not on the job then either? Or the day after that? The Muse’s brow begins furrowing. You are disappointing her. She’s starting to get a little pissed off. Could it be that you don’t really want her help?

Your name has now become entered on the goddess’ Bad Boy List. How will she punish you? She’ll do nothing wanton or vicious. She’s a lady. She will simply withhold her favors. That problem you’re wrestling with in Act Two? You’re on your own, buster. Solve it yourself."

And I got to thinking about my muse. I picture her in a winged chariot (I'm a traditionalist) so I looked up some images on Google. There's a huge variety of chariots.

Here is Triptolemos in his winged chariot, which is also serpent-drawn. He's about to have one for the road. No breathalysers in those days...

This proves serpent-drawn chariots really were a thing. These serpents have wings, which must have helped, though the driver looks as if he's had just about enough of the left hand serpent complaining.
Here everyone has wings except the chariot. It must feel a bit redundant, but I suppose you could stash the picnic basket in it.
Now this is is just being silly. A chariot drawn by eagles?
For if you want to take your chariot fishing...

Here we have a neat little runaround, which would probably have no problem passing an MOT. Again, horseless. Maybe the patron who commissioned the sculptor couldn't afford to get horses carved...
This one I have grave doubts about. Who are those random naked people about to get kicked by the horses' rear legs? And where is the horses' harness? Unfeasible. Nice hubcaps, though.
And if you want to see a picture of very fed up lions pulling a chariot with an overweight Marc Anthony in it, go here. I couldn't find a non-copyright image.


  1. Chariots were the big deal before horses were bred to be large enough to be ridden directly into combat.

    1. I'd never thought of that, Russell. I've looked it up, and the Assyrians started a light cavalry in the reign of Ashurbanipal in 669 BC.

  2. My muse visits me in the bath. Showers are unacceptable.

  3. Hey Lexi, your muse may be a little fed up because you haven't given her one of those titrav bracelets, specially decorated with diamonds in the way that ladies like. She obviously feels unfashionable in one of those chariot gadgets. Better remedy it quickly before you finish book 2 in the series!

    1. Q, if I had a TiTrav, diamond-encrusted or no, I wouldn't be giving it to my muse. Actually, my muse would be redundant - I could nip into the future and buy my next book and bring it back to now, thus saving me the hard work of writing it.

      I see no flaw in this plan.

  4. Replies
    1. A flying carpet would be a better choice, I think. You wouldn't have to feed or water it, and you could eat your picnic in comfort on it.