Distraction or Muse – Does Love Inspire or Stifle Creativity?
We want to create. We want to bring into the world that which, until now, we had only imagined. We want to see our efforts come to fruition. We want our projects to come to glorious completion. But, well, we don’t necessarily want to do it alone.
So how do love and creativity mix? Does sharing time, space, hopes and fears and bodily fluids with another inspire creativity, or does it stifle it, hogging precious energy and attention?
This, of course, will largely depend on the person (or persons; no judgement here) you have fallen in love with. To help you determine whether your love is a MUSE or a DISTRACTION, we’ve come up with this helpful guide.
They Are Your First Consumer
Stephen King credits his wife, Tabitha, with a lot, from saving him from drug and alcohol addiction, to getting him through his recovery from a serious accident, and acting as his ‘First Reader’. When he writes, King thinks of Tabitha, of whether she would laugh at that joke, cringe at that scare or feel for that character.
They Ignore Traditional Gender Roles
Dean Koontz hated his job and dreamed of being a novelist. So, his wife Gerda, a lawyer, told him she would support him for five years, but, if he couldn’t make it as a writer within that time, he’d have to quit and forget all about it. So far, Koontz’s novels have sold over 450 million copies.
They Are as Creatively Accomplished as You Are
Richard Donner is famous for having directed such classic films as Superman, The Omen, The Goonies, and all four Lethal Weapon films. His wife, Lauren Schuler Donner, though (arguably) less famous, not only produced many of her husband’s films, she also produced Pretty in Pink, Free Willy, You’ve Got Mail, and all the X-Men movies, including Deadpool.
They’re Sexier than Your Project
If, whenever your partner is around, you can think only of him or her and their wonderful smile, the way that one shirt fits them just so, that spot where their waist meets their hip …uh, sorry—where was I? Oh, right … Anyway, you may have to find a less attractive partner or—better yet—come up with a more attractive project.
They Don’t Believe in You or Your Work
They keep telling you to get a real job, to give up on your dreams and face reality, but you just know your pasta-sorting app (or whatever the case may be) will hit big. It’s just a matter of time. No more guessing at the difference between fusilli and girandole! No more!
They Are Also Someone Else’s Muse
Pattie Boyd inspired many of Eric Clapton’s greatest hits, including “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight”. Only one problem: Boyd was married to George Harrison at the time. His devotion rebuffed, Clapton fell into a three-year heroine-fueled depression. Boyd later left Harrison for Clapton but, unfortunately enough, their coupling didn’t last.
They Are, Quite Literally, Your Muse
You may not know it, but you have almost certainly seen Gala Dali, Salvador Dali’s wife. The surrealist included his wife in a dozen of his paintings. The famously mustachioed artist’s devotion to his wife did not end there. He also bought her a castle in Catalonia, where she was later buried. So, if you can’t find your own muse, you could do worse than to be someone else’s.
Illustration: Stefano di Lollo