(((This is the forward to Vee Bdosa's new book WRITING SONNETS FOR YOUR FRIENDS AND SOUL MATES, published by iUniverse in August, 2010)))
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The best time to write a sonnet is three o'clock in the morning, right after your Muse has awaken you from a nice sleep, and told you to get up from that warm, snugly down, and write. You fight it for a few minutes, tossing and turning, hoping your Muse will just stop singing, but it is useless. You plead for her to go back to Olympus and bother Apollo, but her only reply is that you better get up now and write this sonnet, or she will have you trying to write a villanella, (whatever that is.)
Stumbling through the dark to the kitchen, you microwave a jumbo cup of instant coffee, and fire up the computer. You open the blinds, and looking down through the trees lining Court Street through an early morning snow, you come to realize how beautiful a town can be on such an early morning. This is the magic of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, one of a few such small towns across the United States, (but the most important one to this poet,) and it is why your Muse is singing at 3 o'clock in the morning. In this kind of an atmosphere, it is impossible not to write sonnets. Or paint a painting. Or snap some beautiful photographs, or write a song like "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning," which Oscar Hammerstein III did only a few blocks away.
Do you know the original Muses? Well guess what, I'm going to tell you. There were nine Muses, and they were all sisters; the daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. (Now if you don't think the gods loved playing jokes on mortals, just try to remember her name.)
Calliope was the Muse of epic poetry.
Erato, you might guess, in charge of Love poetry.
Euterpe gave us lyric poetry.
Melpomene was the Muse of tragedy.
Thalia, the Muse of comedy.
Clio kept things straight in history.
Urania was into astronomy.
Polyhymnia was the Muse of sacred song.
Terpsichore was dance.
MOUNT YOUR PEGASUS
To stay forever beautiful and young
and ride across the windows of the sky
on wings of Pegasus, of which is sung
the merry nine of Zeus, who never die;
their words are flowing still, from every heart
who writes a rhyme or reason with the pen,
perchance to shape the world, or be a part
of what tomorrow testafies was then.
In all of time, the poets take the lead,
of where the world must go, it's in their hands,
and Zeus still loves his daughters in their need
as sure as every poet understands.
Once mounted, Pegasus must take to wing
and every Muse must ride along and sing!
All nine of the Muses lived on Mount Olympus with their - ahem - leader, Apollo, and like Apollo, they stayed young and beautiful forever. They were the envy of the gods and could do many things most of the gods only dreamed of doing, like seeing into the future, banishing all grief and sorrow, and they loved to sing together in chorus. Early Greek writers could call on any one or number of the Muses at a time, which they did. Muse comes from the Greek word Mousa, which means Muse. Other words coming from Mousa include museum, which was temple of the Muses, and music, which means art of the Muses.
Today, whenever poets talk (or write,) about their Muse, most people look at them with raised eyebrows, as you are doing right now, and admit, "Yeh, I believe in Muses..." but they really don't. I know this because if everybody believed in Muses, everyone would have a Muse, and no one would ever get anything done.
This is probably one of the most important things you will read in this book, and it is a little bit tragic to me to know that most people do not bother reading the forward to most books. It is their great loss; sort of like only believing in Santa Claus at Christmas time. Ladies, you might have noticed by now that all of the nine Muses were girls, and an appropriate question in this day and age must surely be, can there be boy Muses? I don't have an answer to that. If there are, you will have to find them yourselves; but if I was a girl, I would surely be hoping with an optimistic heart.
Rest assured, that if you keep an open mind, if you believe in things good, and beautiful, and wonderful, you will not have to find your Muse, your Muse will find you. Some lonely night when you are working away into the wee, small hours, your Muse will sing. Your Muse will sing for you.
Fort Knox, KY