‘Muses invade city hall’


Before anyone calls in the exterminator, one has to realize that muses are not necessarily a bad thing. Although, I am sure there might be some who will disagree, because they consider musing to be too airy fairy to be taken seriously. I actually heard an engineer refer to them that way once. Basically, he was saying that they didn’t want to hear about any art, style or originality. He went by the book. Also musings are mighty rare in bureaucratic settings. Musing fouls up the routine.

However, since musing often leads to inspiration it is an important part of creativity.

In classical mythology the Muses were – and I like to think still are – goddesses who visit humans and give them inspiration in the arts and sciences. They create that marvelous moment when suddenly you have a vision of what’s possible. A scientist might discover that the Earth is round and has a way to prove it or an artist might suddenly get the vision and energy to create a masterpiece.

Apparently at a recent meeting, the mayor, city councilors and the city administrator, were all musing about how to make Yellowknife more interesting, more unique, prettier, more scenic and more livable. Well galloping goblins, slithering Sasquatch, rambunctious redpolls and plucky ptarmigan, but don’t that beat all.

In my opinion, in the past, we have had city halls that were out to destroy anything that they considered unique or interesting. And that included our history and that we are a large Northern frontier town, only called a city because we are the capital. Some bureaucrat or politician didn’t like the sound of “The Capital town of the NWT”. Personally, I like the idea of a capital town, village or hamlet. Not only is it more accurate, it has a certain ring to it.

If city hall is actually musing about improving things, that is indeed a monumental shift in attitude. The trick now, is to turn some of those musings into action.

I would suggest they start by forming a small working group that could seek out ideas from individuals, groups and businesses. These they could flesh out and cost out and the short list of the more promising ideas could be given to city hall to see if any of them are doable.

Here is an example. I am sure that there is a muse of dumps, who hangs around ours, because our dump is unique in North America and that makes us unique. So, the city really should capitalize on this and improve the salvaging opportunities at the dump. That shouldn’t be too hard, they just have to undo a bunch of the nonsense the past administration did. They should view the dump as a resource and as a way to reduce the cost of living in the North. Also, since most people never get to see a dump, it has tourist potential that should be improved and heralded. Our dump is already famous and with a documentary done on it, it will become even more famous. It’s a no-brainer.

Another example would be creating a guideline for the city for when a development is proposed, that the natural beauty of the place and its history are taken into consideration. That seems simple enough. Wonder why we don’t have a guideline like that already?

As you can see there are no end of ideas. They just have to be put into a form the city can use and implement. I wonder if there is a muse for that. Originally there were three muses, then seven and then nine. That was thousands of years ago, so I recon there must be hundreds of others by now. The muse of ice and snow. The muse of hiking trails and of outcrops. The muse of owls and the boreal forest. There are no end of muses. Maybe there is even a muse, for mayors and city councils. Why not? Remember a muse a day keeps boredom away.