Be A Mused. Be Very A Mused.

Dad and me and creativity

Do you have a muse? Many ongoing muses?

Who or what inspires your creativity?

Dad and me

Dad and me

My original muse was my Dad, David Swain. Dad made a life of writing, cartooning and mentoring other creative sparks.
His first book, The Cantbeworried Tales, came out when I was seven. He gently satirised Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in cartoon and verse. This little book made a big impact on his world and mine.

Cantbeworried Tales David Swain's first book

The Cantbeworried Tales
David Swain’s first book

When I was eleven,

my Dad initiated Australia’s first professional writing degree course. He was a natural born mentor, encourager, inspirer.

My first book, Great Housewives of Art, came out when I was thirty. 1988. It appeared on international bestseller lists along with Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Mrs Degas and friends led me on a not-always-merry dance to Darwin and New York exhibitions, Belgian postcard books, San Francisco T-shirts, Chinese feminist treatises, spin-offs, rip-offs and more. 

Great Housewives of Art  original 1988 edition (Grafton, HarperCollins, UK). Other editions followed.

Great Housewives of Art
original 1988 edition
(Grafton, HarperCollins, UK). Other editions followed.

Great Housewives of Art Norwegian edition

Great Housewives of Art
Norwegian edition

Several years after that, I initiated Art and Soul – offering group and individual support for people to creatively blossom.

One day, I sat down. I looked at Cantbeworried. I looked at Great Housewives. Both slim volumes – turn them sideways and they disappear. Both books of words and pictures. Both humorous. Both composed of a series of types.

I realised. I am my father’s daughter. How could I have not seen the influence he had on me and my art? 

Dad and me

Dad and me

Today, on the fifth anniversary of my Dad’s death, I miss him. I’m not done with honouring David Swain – my original muse.

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5 thoughts on “Be A Mused. Be Very A Mused.

  1. He was my Dad and my muse, too! And recently Ruby (his granddaughter) has been getting out his ‘how to draw cartoons’ books – which he collected over a few distinctly styled decades – and has been inspired to create her own humorous words and pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hurrah! Jennie! The other daughter and musette. What’s the word for a muse recipient? Musee? A-mused one?
      Anyways, I am so glad you are here speaking out.
      And let’s celebrate Ruby – next generation musee. I have on my wall a cartoon she drew at age four, inspired by a ‘Free Women’ cartoon in one of Dad’s books. I love this.

      Like

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