I tried to find a French synonym for une muse, but I landed on a French definition instead. Here it is, along with the day's story, written two summers ago:
une muse (myooz)
: une source d'inspiration pour un écrivain, un poéte, ou une artiste
la muse verte = absinthe (the drink that is said to have inspired 19 Century writers)
invoquer sa muse = to call on one's muse
courtiser les muses = to court the muses
taquiner la muse = literally to tease the muse (to give a go at poetry)
les muses = The nine Muses
un musée = museum (from the Greek mousaion, or "a seat or shrine of the muses")
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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Last night I dialed up Mexico and listened as Jules picked up the phone at the other end of the jungle. I felt grateful to hear my mom's voice and immediately asked whether she would like to hear about the fictional nouvelle that I had begun.
Mom was game. Only, as I heard myself recount the historiette (involving a senile goat that wears recycled espadrilles), I realized—before Mom even suggested it—that I still wasn't addressing the muse... or was it that the muse wasn't addressing me?... or rather neither of us was addressing but rather a-skirting. Quite simply put, we were, both of us, the muse and I, conveniently and once again skirting the heart's history. Whether or not skirts were involved is beside the point. Let's see, is there a point?
"I think you use humor to deflect," Mom pointed out, in so many mom-wise words. "Underneath the guise of comedy, lie your profound stories."
I offered a few mumbly yah-yahs and you're right about thats. Mom was unconvinced. That is when she reminded me of a line she had just heard in a movie, words that stirred her heart, and maybe they would stir up my own in time to share a few true lines.
"You are God's muse"
"You are God's muse," Mom said, quoting the film. She left enough silence for the words to find feeling in my mind. We are God's muse....
Later that night, after the house had fallen to sleep, I reluctantly put my espadrille-shoed chèvre aside. I reassured myself that the story could be told another time. Next, I thought of Mom's words:
"Remember, you are God's muse. Just fire up that computer, put your hands over that keyboard and LET IT RIP!"
I opened a new window on my computer screen. I took a sip of coffee, staring for a thoughtful while at the proverbial blank page. Finally, I typed in the title of my story. My throat tightened followed by a stinging in the eyes. Closing them, I felt wet lashes.
I looked up at what I had typed: only a word, no more than a title. It read, Naked.
Next, I closed the word document and shut off the computer. I walked down the quiet hall to the bedroom, where I changed into my pajamas. I can't sleep without them.
la nouvelle = short story
la historiette = anecdote, short story
la chèvre = she goat
Forward today's story to a struggling artist. Thanks. (Picture of Smokey taken two summers ago. What is he thinking? Click here to add a thought bubble.)
A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.
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