She, for it must be a ‘she’ for you. Nameless, without a particular character—ideally. Ideal and idealising, she introduces the notion of ‘glamour’ to you.
Glamour is that necessary function that converts life—experience, sensations—into art. It makes chaos into ornate design, makes chance into necessity, makes suffering as exciting as it is exacting. By glamour, the mess of life is arranged into a story that someone else would like to live. (As though that were living! But it can be comforting to all the Rosencrantzes and all the Guildernsterns.)
She is glamorous, your muse. Howsoever she operates, you can recognise her vivacity. What seems conditional in life-as-lived is essential to her.
It is a commonplace of etymology but worth the reminder: inspiration is about the breath of the muse, about inhaling that divine creativity. There is a headiness to it: the act, properly executed, makes you dizzy. You wonder how far it must be like breathing through a paper bag—where every inhalation is filled with stale and poisonous exhalation. You ingest your own excretions. It is a cul-de-sac of creativity, isn’t it—and don’t you delight at the coincidence of ‘cul-de-sac’ (literally, the bag’s end) with your paper bag metaphor.
Is to write to commit suicide? You expend your very being, disguised as your muse’s lifeblood—and what is left of you at the end?
No: if the muse in any way represents a real person, rather than a florid metaphor for your own creativity, then it is homicide you practice with your pen, with your bloodied nib. It is abuse—cruel and specific.
(Remember Neil Gaiman’s ‘Calliope’, where the muse is held hostage and abused, where her power is not gifted but seized from her by rapists.)
And it is prostitution too—exploitation where you, the pimp, the madam, profit by your muse’s experience, by her suffering, by her vivacity. What does she get from it, when you construct your writings from the facts of her life? What does she get from it when you hold captive her utterances with the bondage of your speech marks?
Guilt: shamefully claiming that you are creative when all you manage is the bland rearrangement of the facts of her life. You are not blessed by her gift. What she offers you serve as reminder that you are, in fact, bankrupt. You rely on the charity and pity of your muse.
You fool yourself that she’ll be flattered and recompense by your ‘dedication’ to her.