How brave and resourceful the muse must be to balance, year after year, on the vertiginous high wire that her calling requires-to navigate the tightrope between imminence and absence, to be at once accessible and unobtainable, perpetually present in the mind of the artist and at the same time distant enough to create a chasm into which the muse’s devoted subject is moved to fling propitiatory, ritual objects: that is, works of art.
— Francine Prose, The Lives of the Muses