Wondering about my musings often leads me to other authors. J. M. Barrie, the enormously creative writer who gave us Peter Pan, provided insights into his Muse in an address to future clerics at the University of St. Andrew in Scotland in 1922.
In post World War I times, his perspective must have refreshed his audience, and his ability to laugh at himself is priceless. Several portions of this speech qualify as quotable, but here, he addresses his inner musings.
“M’Connachie, I should explain, as I have undertaken to open the innermost doors, is the name I give to the unruly half of myself: the writing half. We are complement and supplement. I am the half that is dour and practical and canny, he is the fanciful half; my desire is to be the family solicitor, standing firm on my hearthrug among the harsh realities of the office furniture; while he prefers to fly around on one wing. I should not mind him doing that, but he drags me with him. I have sworn that M’Connachie shall not interfere with this address to-day; but there is no telling. I might have done things worth while if it had not been for M’Connachie, and my first piece of advice to you at any rate shall be sound: don’t copy me.
“Courage”, J.M. Barrie Rectorial Address, St. Andrews University, May 3, 1922
Don’t we love it when writers “let down their hair”? Barrie uses humor and creativity to describe his mind’s musings. His last sentence makes me smile: of course this suggestion has not been used yet!
In the solemn halls of the scholarly, few individuals would bare their souls as Barrie was doing. Oh, to interview some students from his audience! His transparent, humble honesty surely fell on eager ears.
Barrie also mentioned pertinent societal events—the devastation of World War I still reverberated. His mix of utter seriousness with self-deprecating humor touches me even now. We can all be grateful that, at least some of the time, he let M’Connachie take the lead.
The next time I wonder about the state of my mind, hopefully I’ll remember the delights J. M. Barrie brought to his era and bequeathed to future generations. I daresay he would never have imagined the extent of his influence.
(If you’d like to read the full speech, it’s here
If you’d like to read about other persons whose Muses have inspired Gail, check out her book about Billy Rae Stewart, Country Music’s Hidden Gem: The Redd Stewart Story.
Available on Amazon
Country Music’s Hidden Gem: The Redd Stewart Story,
by Gail Kittleson
Redd Stewart’s journey began as more than just another rags-to-riches story, but with an essential heritage of family love and music that would later shape him into one of the music world’s greatest ‘unsung heroes.’
His life inspired others to do better, to be better, to love unconditionally, and to share with others the blessing of God-given talent. He was a man who never asked for personal praise, but whose individual contribution to the Country and Pop music industries is still alive throughout the world today.
Many of the songs written by Redd have been performed and recorded by such entertainment legends as Patti Page, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Dean Martin, Michael Bublé, and the list goes on. He was heard to say in all humility, “I don’t deserve any of this.”
Follow these pages of heartfelt thoughts about our subject as explored in detail by the musician, author, and loving son of this sincere man, revealed for the first time is the real-life love story that inspired the lyrics to the world’s most famous Country music song; the beautiful Tennessee Waltz.
About the Author:
Writing has always been Gail’s passion. Her Women of the Heartland series honors make-do Greatest Generation women who sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom.
Gail and her husband live in northern Iowa and retreat to Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country in winter. They also enjoy grandchildren and gardening. It’s no secret why this late-bloomer calls her website DARE TO BLOOM, and she loves to encourage other writers through facilitating workshops.