September 23rd, 2000

From the book Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch.

"To be infinitely sensitive to the sound, sight, and feel of the work in front of us is to listen for our intuitive voice -- our Muse, as she used to be called, or Genius, as he used to be called. The Romans believed that we each have our "genius," a familial deity or spirit guide. Our genius sense and reflects what is around us; we transform matter, time, and space through our own original being."

Nachmanovitch associates your Muse or Genius as your guiding voice. Now, we've all had instances where a little voice inside of us tells us/wants us to do something. Say, for example, if your on the phone with someone you really adore it might want you to break the ice and say "I love you." Or the voice might say, "This is a bad neighborhood, get the heck out of here." In that sense, the voice is a gut feeling, really. An intuitive feeling. Nachmanovitch says about intuitive feeling:

"Intuitive knowledge...proceeds from everything we know and everything we are. It converges on the moment from a rich plurality of directions and sources -- hence the feeling of absolute certainty that is traditionally associated with intuitive knowledge"

So, essentially, the Muse and gut/intuitive feeling are the same thing, stemming from the same source. You need to tap into that source to be completely effective at reaching the epitome of improvisation.

"The whole essence of bringing art into life is learning to listen to that guiding voice."



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