Lord Mammon and the Muse: An Artist's Manifesto


Hesiod and the Muse

I struggle a lot with my Muse.  Whether she is a disembodied genius, a demon in the back of my mind, or function of my own imagination matters little.  I hear her sing.  She gives me more stories than I have time to write.  She shows me many worlds, many lives, and many dreams.

I have tried to discipline her.  Over the years, I have introduced rules and structures to funnel her inspiration where I feel it should go.  She just laughs at me.

I am not sure I would care as much if I had not allowed myself to be distracted by the idea of money.  Lord Mammon snarls.  He is the tormentor of all artists.  He tells us all the simple truth, "You have to make money to support yourself."  How sweet is a lie wrapped in the truth?

Yes, every writer needs to make money if they are going to continue working.  We read countless books and blogs on how to monetize our work.  Could there ever be a bigger waste of time?

A writer needs to focus on their craft.  We lie to ourselves and say that we are all publishers now.  Why can't we see that the publishing industry was a discrete phenomenon?  It arose for its time, served its purpose, and now it is time to let it die.  It was the business of Lord Mammon, not the Muse.

Let us rediscover some foundational truths:

There is no such thing as a writer, there is only the storyteller.

There is no such thing as the musician, there is only the performer.

There is no such thing as the painter, there is only the artist.

There is no such thing as the storyteller, there is only the artist.

There is no such thing as the performer, there is only the artist.

The artist is the servant and the master of the imagination.

I am an artist who tell stories.  No more, no less.  I work to perfect my craft in hopes that the stories I tell are not just my stories.  I hope they are your stories too.  I have to trust that our stories are good enough, compelling enough for you to want more.

We have to stop wanting the instant gratification of the quick buck, and try to build something that will last.  A good story will always outlive its teller.  The moment a good story enters another person's mind and finds its way into their heart, it has done what it was meant to do.

I need to trust my Muse.  I need to trust my readers.  I need to trust you all to do the same.