Wednesday, 26 February 2014

On Muses and Recluses

Well, here it is, the title post of this blog. Recluses are a burdened lot. They leave, nay shun the trivialities of general society yet society doesn't quite leave them. J.D Salinger wouldn't be quite as famous if he were to talk on every second talk show. Fact  is Salinger’s reclusiveness built a sort of enigma around him. He wrote perhaps the greatest coming-of-age novel there is and then just disappeared from the literary landscape by and large. And this gave rise to his enigma that continues even after his death.
But the purpose of this blog is to point out that recluse are not misanthropes. The greatest of history’s recluses have had muses. Even Thoreau had Emerson, even Sherlock had his Watson. You see a recluse shuns the society he finds himself in. It is true that all humans need other humans, apart from the misanthropes of course. It is just that recluses tend to see life finely, a bit more microscopically if you will, and they choose whether a society is worth belonging in or not, for they know the value of their own company. Socially frivolous behaviour is a way to avoid looking within yourself. It’s a way to avoid the thoughts and questions that hit you when the city has done its day of walking mammoth steps and is ready for slumber. Recluses perhaps have conquered that awkward silence that comes when you try looking inside for the first time. They are the ones who endure beyond the seeming emptiness of existence and make peace with themselves. As Thoreau said’ the reason I write about myself is that I do not know anyone better than I know myself.’ It’s just that to some people it makes more sense to figure themselves out before they look out to the world.

Like I said recluses are not misanthropes. As a matter of fact every recluse needs a muse. To Thoreau it was Walden, to Lauryn Hill her music and maybe to Salinger it was Holden, to Harper Lee it was Capote . The advantage of reclusiveness is that it is the fountainhead for originality. It allows you to have thoughts that are free from all worldly influence and truly a reflection of yourself. And hence there is a muse. Maybe a person, maybe an empty page to pour yourself on , maybe an instrument. A person I knew told me she had no real connection with anyone and the only thing she would miss was the sky. I guess it must suffice to say, that for some , the sky is their muse.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your equations of recluse +/- = muse.
    Point well taken that the muse doesn't have to be a ephemeral being peering over shoulders, whispering in ears, tickling to stop writer's block.
    People name their muses, have multiple muses creating in tandem depending on the genre (poem or prose). Some choose their muse(s). For others, the muse makes the decision.
    Your conclusion is so bittersweet.
    Thanks so much for participating in Tale Weaver.