Sunday, July 17, 2011

Follow That Muse! The Magic of Midnight in Paris

If you’re a born romantic, or a traveler worth your Samsonite, you’ve got your Paris story in your repertoire. Most everyone who touches down in the City of Light for more than a day or two has been blasted by her mystique in a life-altering sense.

But one doesn’t even need to lay eyes on the Trocadero, La Tour Eiffel or the Louvre to have such a wallop of awakening: magical rabbit holes to our own heart and soul are here, there, and everywhere. We only need to look with a somewhat diffuse, open way of seeing. When the muse comes knocking, we have to take the leap and trust – and leave all cynicism and doubt aside. We are then duly rewarded with inspiration – real soul juice – beyond our wildest dreams.

Woody Allen’s new film, Midnight In Paris, reminds us of the portals in time and space, and in our own imaginations, that are there for us to walk through… if we just say yes.

Quelle coincidence I found myself watching Mr. Allen’s Midnight on Bastille Day itself, in my favorite old-fashioned theater in San Francisco, the legendary Balboa. It happened also to be the Full Moon in Capricorn, the Sea Goat being a great lover of all things traditional and lasting. Woody’s love letter to Paris relies less on sexual and relationship tension and neurosis, than his typical fare. This film is an uplifting homage to all that is beautiful and meaningful – that which LIVES ON – from the past’s Golden Ages, namely ART, MUSIC, AND LITERATURE – three muses that keep us going when the world becomes drab and dull, bleak and isolating.

Halfway through Midnight, I felt the spirit of La Bohème pulsing through my veins stronger than ever, an affirmation that I was on my way to my own enchanted island of creative inspiration – that intoxicating knowing that nothing could ever keep me from expressing my true self. As long as my body remains strong enough to move and groove, and the mind spry enough to quibble and scribble, I am pretty damned sure I’m going to remain fused with the muse: the art of writing, performance, music, film, and whatever else airs on my personal self-expression channel.

Perhaps it is true that artistes are born, not made. Yes, in one sense, we don’t get to choose the muse; the muse chooses us. However, we all have” inklings,” don’t we? We can all surf the waves of inspiration and make our very lives into art. Our approaches to this world can change in an instant, quick like a bunny. Opening oneself TOTALLY and completely to Life As Art is a risky business, indeed.

If you're an aspiring artist, a patron, or a casual admirer, keep in mind that it takes a highly sensitive soul to bring words, scores, images from the beyond – the superconscious – to planet earth - which is why having a muse is so comforting. It is a constant dance, a romance with that unseen – to be able to focus totally and listen to the muse and heed her coaxing. Without realizing it, we often make ourselves unavailable by shutting down or ignoring her prompts. Still, we must try, for it is our art that gives us real nourishment and feeds our souls completely. It is true alchemy to create exquisiteness. The care and feeding of a true artist-muse relationship is like the life of a hothouse orchid at times: it takes a delicate balance of food, light, water, temperature – and L O V E . . .

But oh, how grand it is when we’ve aligned ourselves with our muse! It could be the Winged Glory, the exterior of the Pompidou, or an accordion-playing busker near Montmartre that brings you to tears and drops you to your knees in humility. Even if you never leave your hometown, no matter: We all have a “Paris” in our souls. Whether an actual place, or an imagined scene in time and space, our portals to the fantastic are those truly unique circumstances that make you swoon and sends your heArt straight to the Moon.

Because when all is said and done, it is art that makes life worth living. We are born to create.

Our muses are not only friends on our paths; they are the very lifelines to our soul. I laud Mr. Allen for reminding us to trust, to hang on with all our might and never let go. Chapeaux!

In celebration of artists and their muses!


P.S. If you're headed to Paris, I recommend Rick Steve's Paris guidebook for lovely tips and suggestions. Be forewarned: you may never want to come home again...

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