It flowed out of my pen and onto the paper as if I were not even a part of the process. It came from nowhere and from everywhere. In her TED.com presentation, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, speaks of “divine attendant spirits”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA This is an ancient Greek concept that we think of as a muse, the muse in the wall who whispers words, images, sounds to us and we write, sketch or pluck them out. It has nothing to do with my human intelligence or ability to create. That’s how it felt when I wrote “Song of an Invalid”. It was born on the page and I never even felt it stirring within me. Was it a good poem? I think so, for a junior in high school who lives with the daily angst and drama of 16-year-oldness. See what you think.
Song of an Invalid
I laugh at your insanity
Running till you’re out of breath
I close the drape to block the view
Now, Mrs. Campbell loved it and wanted me to submit it for publication in the Spectrum, a local annual literary magazine. Only the finest work was included in the Spectrum. There was one condition though. She said I had to change the last line from “I cry” to “Like you” repeating the end of the previous line. It was a real moral dilemma for me. After all, the poem flowed out as is, and now you are second-guessing the muse, Mrs. Campbell? But I relented because getting that poem published meant everything to me.
They read my poem on the school announcements one morning, and everyone congratulated me. But I felt a little like I had betrayed myself and my muse in the wall. I still wonder if I should have stuck to my guns and fought for my original line even at the cost of publication.