The dictionary defines muse as, "a woman or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist."
Any artist you've met in your life who's worth a damn will tell you how hard, painful and exhaustive it is for him or her to create the art in the first place.
If it's easy, this person's putting on a pose and isn't doing something right.
The artistic process is one full of fear, madness, self-doubt and rare moments of balance still teetering on the edge of sanity.
To create something that'll trigger an emotional response from someone else is to go where that person has never been before.
When I sat down to write before I met the muse, I'd run my fingers aimlessly over the keyboard, drink coffee or lucky Old No. 7 Sour Mash Whiskey to stir up some sort of creative inspiration and almost always walk away from a blank page.
At the end of the session, I was usually drunk, stoned or both.
I'd wonder what I was doing and smile at the insanity of the repeated process.
Then, the muse came along.
I'd given up on anything besides the next beer-soaked, sloppy one-night stand most often readily available at the sports bar down the road from my place.
My muse is gone now, and she's braving the lone and proud highway to Texas.
But, she taught me a thing or three about what such a profound force captured in the flesh can bring on an artist's life.
1. Every day is a turning of the page.
When you're with the muse doing any number of things — sharing takeout from the Thai family kitchen down the road, arguing over the spiciness (or lack thereof) of the pad Thai or playing footsies underneath the warm felt covers you wait to break out every winter — you're both sure you don't have to die to go to heaven.
You're taking mental notes the whole time.
You're swimming in the deep end, exploring newfound emotional depths and feeling things more deeply than you've ever felt.
Yes, every moment every day becomes your story.
You see, these moments you share with the muse come back with a vivid clarity to offer you inspiration, ideas, words and dialogue the next time you go create.
2. Sex becomes naked poetry.
It pains — no, it sickens — me to say this, but I think a lot of us take sex for granted.
I don't know; maybe it's a symptom of self-doubt meets ignorance.
Before you freak out, I'm not talking down to you from some sort of hedonistic, sex-crazed, ivory tower.
I also struggle every now and again with appreciating the profoundly intimate process that sex is.
I worry I'm going too fast, that she's not going to make it and that I blew it before I even blew it.
With the muse, sex takes on a suppressed feverish grace, and you learn something about what ecstasy feels like.
The orgasm becomes the combustion of your soul as your world explodes, and all that means anything to you lies beside you, sweating and breathing heavily.
Maybe you're not one for the sappy, puppy-eyed romance.
But hell, if you wake the morning after sex with the muse, wearing a big sloppy grin on your face, you start thinking you might have to reconsider.
3. You see yourself as you want to be.
In our early 20s, we're all f*cking lost.
Some of us have the jobs we always planned for, while others are treading life's waters, waiting for the rent to clear, certain doom is fast approaching.
We read articles and consult friends and family on when — or if — any of it will ever make sense.
We're told through warm hugs and understanding eyes that our 20s "are a time of self-discovery."
F*ck that, right?
Don't you just want to wake up one morning, fretful over nothing, and actually want to go where you're going when you get out of bed?
When the muse comes into your life — artist or not — you learn to listen to yourself, your buried dreams and your stifled desires.
You pay less attention to what others think and what others want, and it's because your world begins and ends in the crazy, wild glimmer of those eyes.
These are a few lessons I learned when I found the muse.
She was the first, and I don't doubt or hope she was the last.
So when you find your muse, buckle up and don't blink because you might have a way of missing all the ways your life has forever changed.