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A Field Guide for Poets & Writers in Quest of the Eudaimonic Muse

Written by:
Roman Payne
Vol °1 Published by:
The Wanderess Project
Special thanks to the Muse & to:
Consciousness Explorer, Olof Elwin
Copyright: ©2018 Roman Payne, The Wanderess Project

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced

in any form without permission from the publisher.
December 27, 2018

Volume °1


Note from the Editor

Invocation to the Muse
Some Advice on Courting the Beautiful Demons
“La Muse” Est-elle une Femme ?
“Do not Swear by the Moon!”

“The Muse is a Wanderess, feral and free;
elusive Enchantress of Love’s mystery.”
(Excerpt, Payne’s Soliloquy °245)

Note from the Editor

Dear Reader,

You are reading this because you are one of the first to get a hold of this ebook. As a reward
for your kind enthusiasm, we are offering you free updates—including bonus content—to
this Volume One, which was scheduled for release in January 2019, but has come out early.
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Invocation to the Muse…

Sing, Ô Muse, and through me, tell of the glory of she1 who invented

each story that ever will be… Creatress of beauty, of art and poetry—Ô, sing, sweet
Muse, sing the story of Thee!

“SING, Ô MUSE…” It is only fitting that I begin a literary exploration of the Muse in the tradition that we credit to
Homer (whoever he, she, or they, could have been). Thus, the 2.5 lines of text that I begin this book with are the
classic Homeric structure of an “Invocation to the Muse” similar to Fitzgerald’s translation of The Odyssey.

Some Advice on Courting the Beautiful Demons 2…

I SPENT TWENTY YEARS WANDERING THE EARTH courting the Muse. I lived for beauty,
for art, and for poetry. Quite a young man when I began my odyssey; my mishaps
were many in those first years, and my relationship with the Muse was more one-
sided than my youthful naïveté—with its touch of boyish arrogance—could have
admitted. It didn’t discourage me that for the first many years I courted the Muse,
I couldn’t see her—couldn’t even find her! I had an image of her in my mind,
though. I pictured her resembling some fuzzy, grey she-wolf. This led me to spend
over two years camped in the steppes near the forest, at the outpost where the
gypsies got their potions and traded magic spells. It was believed the most Muse-
active region in Muse-Country.

“The Beautiful Demons” is the rough translation of the Greek word, “Eudaimonia”—a complex word best
translated as: “The flourishing life.” This book will go into depth on Eudaimonia in later volumes.

In all seasons, I camped there with my poet/anthropologist gear. My field
guide was my imagination. I spent day and night studying the Muse’s behavior,
studying her habits, tracking her scent. And every moment, I was dreaming of
her—longing for her.
Only when I stopped tracking her because of fatigue did she acknowledge
that I was alive. It was the day I sprained my wrist and decided to go easy on myself
that night. I passed a delicious summer evening resting at camp, scribbling some
poetry in a notebook, and admiring the blanket of stars above, the sacred jewelry
of night.
While immersed in composing a rather puerile sonnet, I heard the cry of a
wolf who'd been injured by a hunter. Believing her my she-wolf, the Muse, I
shouted to the distance… "Sale con maudit ! T’as pris le mauvais chemin en
blessant une déesse, t'es mort !" and I ran to overtake the hunter. Despite my wrist,
I wounded him near death and was about to kill when I made the observation that

the wolf was a male, and a very sickly one. I spared the hunter’s life but left him
with firm warning to stay clear of any she-wolf.
The Great Muse took note of me that night; and by way of an invitation from
an old school friend, she communicated to me that she was not a wolf and that
courting her would be more sensible in a city. So, I left the Northern Woods and
installed myself in Catalonia, in my friend's atélier.
The years that followed were more productive. I wrote a novel. The Muse
heard my invocations and replied, but only in vague ways: Sneezes, sighs, and
playful giggles. There were also less-personal signs that, were I not an artist, I
would have believed to have come from God. But I knew I was more fortunate.
Feminine attention is always preferable to a young man of my condition, and I
knew these signs to be from the Goddess.
Since tracking footprints and animal odors is a ridiculous activity in the
city—and besides, I knew now that the Muse was not a wolf—I could do nothing
other than interpret her signs, dream of her, and write novels and poems. I moved

frequently, in haste and with the recklessness characteristic of a man in love.
Where I moved all depended on her signs. For example: I was at the table cutting
the rind off a block of cheese one afternoon when a shaft of sunlight came through
the window. Entranced by the sun in my eyes, the knife slipped and I cut the palm
of my hand. I stopped the blood, but I noticed that several drops landed on the
floor. They all landed on a piece of rind I had cut from the cheese. It was the one
piece of rind that resembled anything at all. It was shaped like Italy. And the place
where the blood had struck it was where Rome is on a map. Do I need to even tell
you that I wandered off to Rome that same day?

You ask me why I did all this? Why did I spend my life wandering after the Muse?
The same reason you may spend your life doing the same—that is, if you realize
what you can attain by doing it… Qu’on on vit pour les rêves et pour l’amour, vous
voyez ? …When you live for beauty and poetry, and for love and for dreams, you
see her, you are with her! …And when you will be with her and she with you, you

will learn that she is as generous as a genie in a bottle—Listen! Wherever-upon
the Muse walks, the wilderness becomes a wonderland. And with only her wish,
wastelands are washed down so a paradise can grow! I've watched the Muse work
wonders. I’ve seen the weak get well, the weary and wretched rise-up and walk
along; and the wailing cries of the broken, turn to sweet song!

Listen, Poets… Come around here, I want to ask you something.

Writers who don’t consider themselves poets, you stay out of the way!

Alright, Poets, let me ask each one of you:

How do you know you are a poet?

Were you born naked?

Were you born with poetry in your pockets?

No? You shake your heads. Well? So, then how do you know what you are?

To wear the honored title: “Poet” one needs devote oneself to living the
poetic life. Such devotion means that you must give everything for the Muse. You
must wander wherever you believe she herself might be a-wander. You know she
takes dangerous routes but you still go. Wander where she wanders, wake when
she wakes; and whenever she waits, you wait. You write whenever and whatever
she wants you to write. If she gives you a pill, you swallow; if she gives you a poison,
you drink. Fall if she kicks you; lie and steal if she says you must.

It won't hurt to dance in the dirt…

Nor to lie in the dust…

Nor even to die, if she says that you must.

To die for the Muse… to die for poetry…

This is a noble death!

It was noble in the days of Socrates and Seneca, and it still is today.
Whenever you are offered the chance to risk your life for the Muse, to risk death
for her, for poetry, do it. Do it with aplomb!

"But I love my life more than I love poetry," you say.

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No, you do not. Because the only thing to love about life is its poetry. If you
take out the poetry, life is nothing at all. C’est le néant. C’est de la merde.

…But don't worry, you didn't know that you love poetry more than life. I’m
sure you didn't offend the Muse. She knows you were confused. If you had known
what you were being asked, you would have of course agreed to tempt death. Of
course you would have.

…Thank you, poets. We’ll continue our expedition to where the Muse is
almost certainly wandering tonight—just as soon as I interrogate the
writers…those writers seem to be wandering back to camp. Come back here,
Writers! I never dismissed you! Come gather ‘round!

Look, Poets, the writers assemble faster than you! Okay, Writers…

Ahem! You who write books of prose but do not call yourselves poets, why
do you wish to know where the Muse wanders tonight?

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"So that our books will be good, Sir! So that our novels and stories will have
prose that is lofty and majestic!"

But only poets write prose that is lofty and majestic. Do you think the Muse
moves the hand to write poetry but doesn't honor the one whose hand it is by
giving it the title of poet?

"So, if we're not poets we can't write beautifully?"

No! Of course, you cannot. You may write effectively, and communicate
your point, but you won't write beautifully.

But we are good writers, just not poets. Good writers too are at times
honored by the Muse. Isn't that true?"

Untrue, untrue!... Writing is not an art. Schoolchildren write. Penmanship

is not art, just as swordsmanship is not a battle. Does the Muse have time to watch
you learn the alphabet? Practice on your own time, perform on hers. Leave now…
All of you writers… leave. This expedition to where the Muse wanders will not have

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you. When the Muse sees that you are not poets, she will scamper off. Then none
of us others will have the chance to honor her. And she will be angry with me for
bringing unworthy guests to her home.

…Why are you crying? Don’t cry. All of you cry? It’s not a life sentence!—
you may come back when you are poets. Then you can entreat the Muse.

"But Sir! I want to make art. I mean, I do make art. …But I'm afraid I can
never be a poet. You see, I'm tone-deaf to meter, and I can never think of words
that rhyme with the ones I've got. I am just not musical enough to write poetry.”

Who said you had to be able to write poetry? Did I say that?? I said nothing
of the sort! I said you had to be poets! Good Lord! The Muse does not abandon
those who were not born for rhythm. I myself sing flat all too often, though I take
great pleasure in singing. Do you think the Muse is so shallow as to abandon those
whose bodies are not finely-tuned? The Muse looks for the artist. What is an
artist? One who paints? Nonsense! Schoolchildren paint. An artist is one who
has a poetic heart. And… should you have the intention of sacrificing all for the
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poetic life, well, then you are more than an artist—you are a poet! An artist has a
poetic heart. A poet has a poetic heart and strives to live the poetic life. Whoever
said you have to pen silly verses? Find rhyming words? Nonsense! That's just how
poets play. It’s their pastime, the way they keep their minds in tune. Their art is
not scribbling their verses, or making couplets that rhyme. The poet's art is—
absolutely, and in its entirety—their life.

Tale to be continued in Volume Two

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It’s understandable why women have been so unhappy throughout history,

and will continue to be, so long as our order-loving civilization continues to

catalogue them and define their identity; because, like all forces feminine, women

resist all definition. Femininity flows formlessly. A woman is a drop of free water.

To assign her a definition is to force water to conform to a shape. And while the

“oval” is one of the more elegant shapes found in nature; the water that fills the tub

of an oval bath, no matter how you look at it, is water that is trapped in a cage.

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The best definition I know of for poetry is: “the right words in the right

order.” But another definition that I love is: “Poetry is the language used to

describe the feminine side of existence.” Poetry describes all that is abstract,

random, feminine. Scientific or mathematical prose describes all that is concrete,

sequential, masculine.

The virtue of a cup is that it holds wine. It matters little if the cup is of wood,

or glass, or crystal. Likewise, the virtue of a Muse is that (it) inspires an artist to

create. Now, although the cup’s identity is independent of its composition, it does

matter if the cup is made of metal, or if it’s made of milk. A cup made of milk would

not hold wine (unless the milk were frozen).

One should approach the Muse in the same way: The virtue of the Muse is

to inspire. The composition of the Muse may vary—in Homeric Greece, she was a
goddess; there were nine of them—all for different artistic genres.

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Since the late 14th Century, the definition of a Muse has been: a woman who

inspires an artist, facilitates the artist’s work, and affects the quality of the artist’s

oeuvres in an unexplainable, mystical way.

A poet used to pray to an invisible goddess, offering his devotion and any

sacrifice in exchange for beautiful poetry to be written. Today, a poet will offer

devotion and reverence to a mortal woman. The differences between goddess and

woman are more than the similarities. Both, however, have natures that are

Feminine. The virtue of the Muse is to inspire. And inspiration is a feminine force.

To say that a Muse can be a man is like saying that a cup can be made of milk.

Now, a man inspires a woman or another man in things artistic, of course; but the

very nature of “inspiration” (in French: “Une” [fem] inspiration.”) is that she is

feminine. Thus, when a man takes the role of Muse, it is his effeminate nature and

energies (anima) that are influencing the artist. The masculine energies he still

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possesses are inactive elements in the Muse he has become; and since only his

feminine elements are active, the Muse remains female—she remains a she.


Shakespeare's Lady Juliet yearns to hear Romeo’s confession of love for her.

She wants him to swear it be true. But not by the Moon!" He mustn't. The Moon is
inconstant, always changing (Act II Scene II). So his love for her likewise would
always wax and wane.

Juliet is the Muse. Her desire for the man courting her to profess his love

according to the highest possible standards is a characteristic often displayed by

women during courtship; and it is something that pleases a man immensely,

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though it can drive him wild with frustration. In “testing” a man’s devotion to the

cause, like this, she protects herself from giving-in to a man who will tire of her or

be a tepid lover; whereas, when the woman does not set her standards for his

affection at the height of perfection—were she to settle for his love being like the

Moon, for example—the mature man will usually feel a wave of disappointment,

as though he suddenly realizes that the person he is courting is worth less than

he’d previously thought.

Young and inexperienced males faced with these feminine “tests” usually

react differently. Whereas the mature man sees a woman’s high demands as a sign

of her great value, the inexperienced man will believe that she is not as interested

in him as he is in her. Why, after all, if Juliet desires Romeo as much as he does her,

why doesn’t she find everything he says just absolutely perfect? After all, she could

say that she doesn’t love him yet at all and he wouldn’t faulter in his pursuit of her

heart. This difference between the sexes is part of what makes attraction

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fascinating and magical. The writer/poet-Muse relationship is similar (regardless

if the writer is female or male). The Muse demands that the writer show perfect

devotion to his/her quest for unification with the Muse. A writer may refuse an

invitation to a great party in order to stay home and work on a manuscript. The

writer thinks that this tremendous sacrifice will please the Muse and she will

respond by turning all he/she writes that night into gold. But when the writer fails

to get anything decent written on that occasion, all of a sudden it’s the Muse’s fault.

“I missed a beautiful party for this?!” says the writer “For one lousy page??!” The

blasphemy in this reaction is found in the writer’s comparison between perfect

poetry or prose and a beautiful party. The writer who is beloved by the Muse never

compares poetry of any quality to something that is not art, like a party. The

beloved writer would say, “Well! One lousy page of mediocre writing is still better

than a night of drinking and forgotten conversation!” The beloved writer is not

antisocial, and may frequently party and often drink; but it’s the writer’s

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preference to attain intimacy with the Muse that makes him or her beloved. This

writer sees the “one lousy page” not as a wasted night, but as an evening of quality-

time spent with his only true love.

But it is not Juliet's (the Muse’s) perspective alone that is remarkable in this

dynamic. Romeo too shows an example how the writer/poet tends to be too stingy with

the soul. Few writers have the audacity of Doctor Faustus. Few dare to demand the

excellence they truly desire from the Muse. Secretly, they wish that they wrote as

beautifully as Shakespeare; but when they converse with the Muse, they are as timid and

unsure of themselves as young Romeo who puts such high divinity as his love on the

Moon—(just a mere boulder in space, much like trillions of other moons). Why, we ask,

did Romeo swear on the Moon, when he could have sworn on the whole Universe?—or


Juliet certainly would have approved.

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