99 Word Flash fiction: Muses, Plato and waffle

muses sarcophagus Louvre

muses sarcophagus Louvre

I am struggling and I mean struggling with a capital S with the writing of the methodology chapter for my thesis.I don’t know how on earth I can write something that makes sense, when I understand little of what anybody else writes.  I spend more time looking up words epistemology, noumenal, a priori and on and on it goes than I do struggling with the philosophical concepts. If I was Geoff from Tangental who loves words it would be no problem, but for me, I look them up and forget the meaning by the time I see them again – the drawback to studying as an older person. I make a plan – my chapter is going to be written in a way that anybody could read it and understand it and in the process I would really understand the deeper depths of research design and methodology.

Starting with research design books I found myself going backwards in the effort to understand phenomenology and posivists which led me further back in time past Nietzsche and others to Kant, one of the first of the modern philosophers who put forward a theory that no ‘thing’  is seen as a ‘thing’ by it self but a ‘thing’ altered by the viewers world experience and feelings. Kant, however, I was informed, followed Plato so now I am reading Plato’s Republic and other of his dialogues. Very simplistically Plato was highly influenced by Pythagorus and divided the world into truth/forms and ethics on one hand and the physical world which could be either true or false on the other. In this physical world existed what you thought you saw, shadows, reflections and the like. The only things which were forms were those which could be mathematically proven. Knowledge could only be gained from the forms. Works created by the muses were devalued and when he devised the ideal city, he banned the muses (poetry).

So off to Greek mythology. The muses were the givers of knowledge. Originally three it expanded to nine. All daughters of Zeus and Msemesone (liberal arts and memory.) There was also the muse of history, lyric poetry, comedy and idyllic poetry, tragedy, amatory poetry, epic poetry, astronomy and the muse covering singing, harmony, power of poetry and poetical genius.

And along arrives Charli’s prompt. I’ve never thought of having a muse myself. If I had to choose one it would be Msemesone as memory is such an crucial part of being a memoir writer. In modern day usage it has flowed over to mean anybody or thing which inspires you to create. Anne bought to mind artists whose models often became their muse.  My muse of inspiration is varying, forever changing and usually prompted by all manner of unexpected things.

“The advance terms stipulated  ‘complete by the 20th October.’ That was two days ago.”

“I know but I just can’t find the inspiration.”

“You have to write. Call on your muse why don’t you.”

“Mnemesone, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Meopomene, Erato, Calliope, Urania and Polhymnia have never visited me. I don’t expect them to start now.  I need some more time.”

“Another week. That’s all.”

Polly sat and pondered but no words came. A coffee and the newspaper afforded a small reprieve. The headlines jumped out at her  ‘ Camel milk expert says government ban pathetic.”

Coffee forgotten. The words flowed.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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21 Responses to 99 Word Flash fiction: Muses, Plato and waffle

  1. Yes! —-> “My muse of inspiration is varying, forever changing and usually prompted by all manner of unexpected things.”

    Awesome flash. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah says:

    You just never know from which direction the next zap of inspiration will come!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    In my family (many of us easily distracted by muses) we say–look, a chicken! I can totally relate to finding inspiration in quirky places. After Pythagoras banned the muses, they slipped into unseen and unexpected places, waiting to be noticed…

    I’m fascinated as you have peeled back through the layers of time to find answers, understanding and influences. Yet, it seems like the same old argument–what is “real,” what is not and which has value. Brilliant muse you found!


  4. Annecdotist says:

    I admire you trying to get to grips with those philosophers, Irene. I find the concepts so slippery and hard to get hold of, although appreciate the nods to philosophy in the novel I’m reading at the moment. Thanks for the link to my Pre-Raphaelite muse. I love your Flash which certainly connects with my own experience of inspiration coming from where you least expect it. Those wacky news headlines can be great fun. I think your Flash could also work very well for Lisa’s memoir prompt “it made my day” – or perhaps that’s just me who looks for ways of satisfying to prompts with one post!


    • The concepts are indeed slippery Anne and if they could express them in plain English they may just be a little easier to grasp. Still every sentence read makes it a little clearer in my head what I think it means (which of course could be quite different to others or the author’s meaning.) Thank you for the thumbs up for the flash. News headlines can really spur the imagination and usually have nothing to do with the story they are heralding. I hadn’t thought of combining the two and haven’t as yet even thought about what made my day. Another last minute coming up I fear.


  5. Sherri says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one Irene…love your ‘flash’ of inspiration…I never know until the last minute it seems, with everything. Not much inspiration at the moment though…although a headline like yours would help a great deal 🙂


  6. I admire your determination to understand these philosophers. I took a philosophy course in college and have to admit it was probably my least favorite course. As for inspiration, camel milk is way, way out there! But I definitely also take mine from things I see. Life is unexpected…


    • Totally agree Noelle. We make up stories about the people we pass as we are walking the dogs. Mine are always realistic and plausible, Roger’s are over the top as he is making fun of my character building efforts to explain why the person is……
      I think to understand is the only way I am going to move forward.


  7. Lisa Reiter says:

    I have grappled several times with these concepts you are unfortunately having to write to such depths on. I could sort of master the gist enough to do smaller pieces of work but this sounds torturous! You must be a clever, Irene or else a little mad..
    Love the flash and I was similarly inspired by the parents of the muses! It’s been a fun one this!
    Lisa x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. TanGental says:

    Oh lovely, brilliant post! I knew nothing of philosophy until at University we studied jurisprudence, the philosophy of law and rambled through Aristotle and Socrates, Mills and Hobbs, Nietzsche and Kant, Marx and Camus. I loved it even when my brain poured out of my ears as it melted with overuse. And thank you for the tip of the hat to my love of words.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Be Inspired « Carrot Ranch Communications

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