Has the muse gone missing?


There's a line in Jason Isbell's song 24 Frames that goes "And this is how you help her when the muse goes missing" and that line haunts me for many reasons today, but with regard to songwriting, the reason is clear: I don't want it around anymore because my muse was FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Almost every time I had an idea for a song it was about something negative and to write the song meant diving deep into those bad feelings to salvage some sort of beauty from the wreckage. That actually sounds kind of positive, right? I'm not so sure. Those deep dives took a toll and every time I went back down the toll grew greater, as I found new wrecks to explore and then surfaced with the heavy weight of sad memories around my neck. I would drag these memories around with me until the song was done and then go back for more. Yes, I wrote a few positive songs, but far more were about everything that was wrong with my life -- all the regrets, my struggles with hope and optimism -- it was slow murder and I was the one who was dying. So every time my melancholy muse has come knocking nowadays, I haven't answered. But here's the paradox: I love writing songs and the only songs I seem to right make me feel worse about myself. So my struggle these last several years has been how to reconcile these two opposites. I don't have the answer yet, and maybe I never will, but I can't go on suppressing my love of songwriting because it hurts too much so I've decided that it's better to accept my muse for what it is, not try to change it, and dive back into all those feelings to salvage whatever beauty I can.