The Nine Other Muses: A Modern Pantheon
Since the subject of The Muses came up in a recent discussion, I've decided to find out who the Muses for the modern day are.
Abstemia is the muse of diet books and food guides and health pamphlets. She is usually depicted as a thin, spectre-like girl in wispy gowns, carrying with her small black diaries in which she records the details of her daily dietary activities.
Worshippers of Abstemia hold a feast day in her honour every year, during which they sit around the table and discuss dietary matters and cholesterol intake.
Once, it is said that one girl worshipped Abstemia with such zeal that her figure shrunk and shrunk and shrunk until there was almost nothing of her at all. Her family weighed her on the scale when, with a sudden ping, she vanished.
Falliope is the muse of motherhood, and books and poems about motherhood. Artistically, she is depicted in the Centrelink queue, waiting for her single mother pension cheque to come in. More recently, pictures of Falliope show her clasping a bottle of pills in one hand and a pregnancy test in the other.
Clito is the muse of free expression, free love, free verse, free money from the government, and free drinks, too, if she has anything to say about it. She is often depicted in the lascivious grasp of another man/woman/thing, and usually wears nothing at all. She couldn't be bothered writing poetry, because she is usually doing it.
Tranette, the muse of transgender and sex changes, is regarded by many as an impostor amongst the muses, as a kind of 'Tranny come lately', if you will. However, her supporters are eager to point out the existence of her aunty, Tiresias.
Tranette wears fishnet stockings, and is worshipped at the karaoke machine.
Mepoormeme is the muse of self-confession, self-obsession, self-examination, self-masturbation, and autobiography. Her most devoted worshippers are the hordes of beret-wearing poseurs who flock to Melbourne's poetry bars and clubs and read out delicate and touching poems about their feelings.
Mepoormeme carries a mirror with her at all times, and a nymph flies after her to record all her thoughts as she speaks them into a livejournal or a blog.
No one is exactly sure what Feministia is the muse of, but she's pretty impressive. She is depicted in many different ways, sometimes wearing bluestockings, and sometimes a tight black vinyl dominatrix outfit, complete with whip and spurs. Her supporters are mostly women, and they write books with titles like 'The Female Eunuch' and 'I Blame the Patriarchy'.
However, many men are secretly in love with her as well, but will not admit to it in public.
Polymania is the muse of craziness, looniness, and all forms of insanity. She is depicted wearing a straitjacket or, sometimes, dancing about on the city streets with foam coming out of her mouth.
In order to best appreciate the virtues of Polymania, it is often necessary to stimulate yourself chemically, and in excessive amounts. This may not always have predictable results, but the goddess will appreciate it.
Other acceptable forms of worship include shutting yourself up in the cupboard and reading book after book of realist fiction, or trying to understand James Joyce.
Herpe, the muse of ill-health, sickness, or even depression, is depicted in art wearing a patients gown or in bed. She has inspired many works of self-misery by countless lily-skinned artistes who would rather lie around in bed than work.
Her company is best avoided, for your own health, so she is most often seen in company with Abstemia.
The best of the bunch, Obscenia is the muse of swearing, shouting, cursing, criticising, and generally saying things that will annoy the most amount of people as possible. If you ask Obscenia a question about yourself, she has the habit of telling you something that
a) Will be very true
b) Will be something you don't want to hear at all.
Obscenia wears trousers, and is often depicted artistically on the toilet. She can be found in company with her niece, Uranal, and her nephew, Colon.
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