not a horse

Several months back, Letters of Note (a consistently interesting blog) published the letter Nick Cave sent MTV in 1996 after having been nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. In it, Cave declined the invitation in a way I’m am certain Vye would appreciate.

(Even as I say that, she’s sitting here beside me vigorously nodding her head. She’s all wild hair and approval, this muse of mine.)

My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature.

She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!

It’s a fine line Mr. Cave walked, no doubt about it. On the one hand, awards (yes, I suppose even MTV awards) are a way that patrons of various arts show their approval and appreciation. I’m sure he had fans who were disappointed that he declined the potential honor. On the other hand, there is something wonderful about his perspective on his art. It’s not a competition. It’s not a vehicle to win him accolades. It’s something more, something deeply personal and even sacred. To marry it with the chaotic glitter of MTV might well have spoiled it.

I can respect that.

Even more, I can understand it. I don’t know that I’ll ever write anything people want to stand up and cheer for. God knows I hope I do, but I might and I might not. But if I do, however I navigate the accolades that do or don’t come my way, I hope I’m able to do it with reverence for the art and respect for Violet.

Our muses deserve no less from us.

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