Ten Years Of MUSED ... And Counting.
Mused Literary Magazine ArchivesWelcome to the archives of the Mused Literary Magazine! Here you will find all of our issues, full of beautiful photography, inspiring artwork, thought provoking poetry, intriguing stories and much more. Immerse yourself in our world, and enjoy!
The links below are to the low bandwidth HTML versions of our issues. These are intended for dial-up users who have issues downloading large files. If you're on a high speed internet connection, make sure you look at our fully formatted PDF Issues of Mused which are gorgeous!
Winter Solstice 2018 - Volume 12, Issue 4
In our modern world it can be so easy to lose track of the world's natural cycles. Without effort, we fall into a cacophony of screens glaring and news screaming 24 hours a day. It's so important to take a step back and remember just how preciously brief life is. How every day is a new opportunity to learn and grow. How those wheeling stars and arcing sun mark the minutes which steadily stream by.
Our artwork celebrates this ephemeral world we all share. Tiny bugs focus on survival. Beautiful architecture fades and decays. Everything around us is in a constant state of change.
Poetry delves into the cycles of our lives. How relationships alter as they mature. How death comes to us all, even those in love. How each of us is unique, and that is what makes us wonderful.
Fiction lets us walk, for a moment, in another person's shoes. Parents age. Mothers struggle to protect their children. Fathers demonstrate patience and understanding.
Non-fiction pulls back the curtains and reminds us we are part of a global community. A woman comes to term with the frailty of her body. A daughter struggles with a distant father. A teacher is inspired by his student's determination.
Every life is precious. Every day is a gift. We are here for a mere blink of an eye. What ripples will our presence cause? What blessings will we leave behind for our community? Only we can make these choices. Only we can set our own course.
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Fall Equinox 2018 - Volume 12, Issue 3
The English language can be playfully tricky in its interpretation of words. Take the simple four-letter-word FALL. It's the time of year we're entering. Autumn. Harvest season. But the fall is also an important part of a block-and-tackle setup on a ship. The falls are the critical ropes which give power to the unit. They are what cause the heavy item like the sails to lift up.
And that is what fall is to me. Not the tumbling down of a fawn on unsteady legs. Not the changing leaves plummeting groundward, for I think of autumn as when the foliage is still on the trees, glorious in crimson, tangerine, and copper. No, fall is when we lift up our gaze to soak in the beauty of nature. It is when we lift up our hearts in gracious thanks for all we have been blessed with. We lift up our souls to renew our quest for sharing compassion, love, and acceptance throughout the world.
Our images share this adoration of the preciously unique Earth we all share. We have sunflowers glowing in green and gold. A misty castle glimpsed in another dimension. An enigmatic doorway into who knows where.
Poetry delves into emotions and twines into our thoughts. Rains shimmy leaves and batter islands. A man amongst millions boldly carves his own path. A woman tussles with her ill body which keeps its secrets well hidden.
Fiction catches at the mind and gives it tugs in new directions. A woman is scattered here and there by the winds of fate. A young child struggles to understand life's new, dark twists. A daughter is brought low by the loss of her mother.
Non-fiction is where we connect with our fellow travelers on this too-short path called life. College friends hold each other through illness and change. A stranger becomes everything to a woman in distress. A girl learns the lesson that first impressions are often wrong.
Through it all, we open our eyes just a little wider. We breathe in the sense that every other person is facing their own dilemmas. They have their own challenges. We each deserve patience and understanding. For none of us chose where we were born. Most of us do not choose when we die. In between, we struggle to make our way through a world stuffed with hurdles and hidden dangers. Sometimes it is that one smile from a stranger which gives us the strength to take that next step.
Be that smile.
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Summer Solstice 2018 - Volume 12, Issue 2
The seasons seem more and more askew with each passing year. Summer now appears to be the most convoluted of them all. Is it because I live in Massachusetts, where we have traditionally enjoyed quite reliable and beautiful presentations of spring, summer, autumn, and winter? Is it because I'm closing in on fifty and have seen how bizarrely the cycles have altered in recent years? Out of all the strange changes, it's summer which seems to have gone most topsy-turvy. Which has been stretched and folded like circus candy taffy.
It used to be that spring's gentle breezes really did linger from the March equinox through mid-June's arrival of stronger sunshine. Despite clothing stores' exhortations to start buying-buying-buying on Memorial Day Weekend, one could still treasure yoga on the back porch in early June. One could still walk barefoot along the shore without feeling like a broiled lobster. That kind of heat was reserved for July and August. The true summer months.
But the seasons are compressing. Pulling. Changing. Winter's fury pummels deep into April and the plants barely have time to bud and blossom before the oven begins. And if the plants can't grow, the animals who rely on them suffer. The ripples spread outward.
We need to care about this. We have only one planet. It's this planet or nothing. Our time here is already a mere blink of an eye compared with dinosaurs. They were a blink of an eye compared with mollusks, and so on. There's nothing to say humans have to have a place on Earth beyond this century. It is up to us to make it work or to watch it fail.
Our Summer Solstice issue celebrates all that is beautiful about this precious home we share. In poetry, words, and images we treasure the glittering reflection of moonlight on a lake. A rippling silent sea of grass. The elusive scent of roses. Rippled clouds in a blue sky. Delicate butterflies exploring blossoms. A brilliant rainbow.
Our issue also delves into the chaos and uncertainty which often twines itself into human relationships. Our non-fiction aches with true-life rawness. A young boy is abused by his father. A young girl is bullied for being asthmatic. A woman is haunted into adulthood by being given up for adoption. An older man gives up on life, leaving behind his wife and the woman who refused to be his mistress. Images remind us that the grand buildings and architecture we create all eventually return to rubble. It fades back into the Earth.
And the Earth complacently goes on.
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Spring Equinox 2018 - Volume 12, Issue 1
It can seem sometimes as if our world is whirling faster than we can keep up with. Our favorite restaurant where a key event in our life took place shutters its doors without warning. A website storing decades of our financial data gets hacked by miscreants. Brave people step forward and we realize a public figure we had faith in was never worthy of that trust. It can become overwhelming. Exhausting.
A balm which rejuvenates is to explore the creative efforts of individuals around us. To begin, turn off the noise and clatter of the world at large. Take a deep breath and instead focus on connecting with one fellow human being who presents their jewel of a thought to you. Examine it mindfully. Consider its meaning. Soak in the moment with this one human. Then connect with another. And another. You will probably find that even though we have different backgrounds, eat different foods, have different skin colors, and wear different clothes, that we share common bonds. Most of us wish to be loved. To have safe shelter. To have ample food to eat. To have someone recognize us as a meaningful member of our society.
Our artwork reminds that this beautiful Earth we all share presents stunning images every day to restore us. We just need to take that moment to look at the glistening of ice. The petals of a flower. The curl in an ocean wave.
Poets also nudge us into opening our senses a bit wider. To appreciate the wisps of morning fog. The delicate cluster of flowers. The flash of a warbler's wings and the touch of a loved one's hand.
Fiction takes us places where we think "what if." What if the government disagreed with your view and locked you away. What if a momentary act of kindness led to something dark. Would it make you rethink your willingness to help others? Or would you persevere, knowing there were so many in our world whose lives could be changed by a small, simple action?
Non-Fiction is the opening of another person's soul. A person realizes their true soul-lifting "home" was far from where they were born. A single step changes a family's life forever. A chance encounter leads to a deep friendship.
It can be easy, when the world becomes chaotic and shifting, to draw within. To shun and fear the 'others'. To give up on kindness. But every major religion and system of spirituality reminds us to care for each other. To love one another. To start each new day with a fresh heart. When we think of the Good Samaritan, we might not realize how much, at the time, the Jews and Samaritans hated each other. Somehow this one man saw past that. He saw, not a Jew, but a fellow human being in need of help. We are all, in this world, fellow human beings. We should all put out a hand and clasp those who have fallen. For when we, ourselves, fall, we would hope for a hand to reach to us. Whatever its color or culture. We all share this one Earth together.
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Winter Solstice 2017 - Volume 11, Issue 4
Why do we end our year in the middle of winter? In the past, many cultures would begin each year at the Spring Equinox - as the world was awakening from its long slumber. It was the time of planting and growing. Of baby goats and lambs. This would seem to make more sense.
It turns out that January 1st, the feast-day for the Roman god Janus, has its own special claim to fame. It is the day of our perihelion. This is when our Earth is the very closest to the sun. We have reached the near-point in our yearly orbit around the star which keeps us all alive. This means that, while it's currently winter in North America, it's still just a tiny bit warmer than winter would be for those in Australia. When Australia gets its winter, they are at the point of aphelion - when the Earth is furthest away from the sun. Perhaps that's a win for those in Australia who like to build snowmen :).
Whether you're currently experiencing the perihelion Down Under or in the City that Never Sleeps, it's still a wonderful time to realize just how precious this Earth we all share is. Tiny fluctuations of a 3% distance to our sun impact our weather and our lives.
We all travel on this blue-green ball around our very own star each year, sliding a little closer, sliding a bit further away. The balance is critical. Too much closer and we'd roast. Too much further away and we'd freeze. We should be aware of just how blessed we are that our Earth is "just right" - and do what we can to keep our world healthy. It's the only one we have.
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Fall Equinox 2017 - Volume 11, Issue 3
Autumn is a season for counting our blessings. For realizing just how much we have in life where so many others are without. It can often be easy to take things for granted. Things which millions of people desperately dream of having. By pausing for a moment, and looking around with mindfulness, we can find a new center. Begin with fresh energy.
Artwork takes us on this journey of appreciating the beauty in every day. The shimmering violet of a flower's petal. The rich glow of autumn foliage. The masterpiece of a luminous sunset.
Poetry shimmers with vision. The delicate parasol of Queen Anne's lace. The coy flirtations of a luminous moon. The charcoal tears of raindrops in dust.
Fiction draws us in to worlds which could easily be our own. A grandmother whose memories gambol and fade. A woman who relives the fears of a long-distant past. A young man who treasures every day he has left to him.
Non-Fiction invites us into a fellow traveler's world. A woman meets her adopted daughter for the first time. A brother comes to terms with the untimely passing of a beloved sister. A woman's life takes a detour which strengthens her courage. A young girl survives a tragic accident and realizes she's lucky to be alive.
We are all on this big blue marble for the fleetest of moments. A few whirls around a star and our journey is complete. There is so much to treasure in every day. There are so many fellow humans we can gently touch and lift up. If only with a smile - if only with a kind word.
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Summer Solstice 2017 - Volume 11, Issue 2
"To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie - True Poems flee"
- Emily Dickinson
Our time on this Earth is fleeting and precious. We often know that in a vague, intellectual sense, and yet we can find ourselves whittling away those finite minutes without mindful thought. We should celebrate the beauty in a child's smile. The radiant sound of saying "I love you" to that special person. The warm touch of a hand. The delicate scent of a wildflower.
Our artwork celebrates those stunning moments. The raindrop on a pale petal. The glimmer on a honey bee's wing. The perfect orange sphere of a rose hip. The peaceful calm of a resting owl.
Poetry layers in emotion and senses beyond sight. We travel to Georgia with the aroma of honeysuckle and fried chicken, with creaking floorboards under rocking chairs. We sizzle in the heavy heat of a summer's day while crackling brown grass prickles our feet. We breathe in the shore's scent - birds, salt ... starfish.
Fiction immerses us in lives which - but for a cosmic hiccup - could have been our own. A family sorts through their belongings, deciding what to sell to keep finances going. An older couple dedicates their energy to providing solace to orphans. A daughter finds a way to be at peace with her father.
Non-fiction reminds us that we all share one world. We struggle with mental illness. We struggle with the walls we construct between us and others. We struggle against the power of our own fears. We struggle to overcome the patterns drummed into us by our parents. We struggle with the knowledge of our own mortality. Through these works we learn, if only for a moment, to walk in another's shoes.
As we reach the Summer Solstice's cosmic pause, the moment when the earth passes seamlessly from encroaching days to encroaching nights, it's a reminder to us that this has happened billions of times before and will happen billions of times again. We are a mere blink in the eye of our world. We should treat each fellow passenger with gentle kindness. Treasure each moment. Appreciate the blessings we have.
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Spring Equinox 2017 - Volume 11, Issue 1
In our modern world of 24-hour diners and around-the-clock email, it sometimes seems as if we've lost track of nature's cycles. But then the Spring Equinox comes along and reminds us to pause. For thousands of years, cultures around the world have recognized this one special day as representing a balance of light and dark. It's a unique moment in time where our world settles in equilibrium - just for a breath. And then the sunlight shines out and pulls us deeper into Spring.
Artwork brings our vernal world to life. From delicate butterflies to a beautiful sunrise, from beach walks to vintage planes, there are fascinating things to see all around us. We simply need to open our eyes and look.
In poetry, we have the celebration of spring with the uplifting golden horns of daffodils. We have thawing icicles. The fresh joy in a chirping bird. The protective watch of a mother robin's gaze.
Fiction draws us into a family coping with an alcoholic father. A pair of youngsters get in and out of trouble at a shopping mall. A pair of men build a new friendship.
Non-Fiction shares the challenges of letting a father go, and the grief of a father who has to go on when his son has passed away. A daughter strives to connect with her mom. A traveler visits the DMZ in Korea.
Each day is a blessing - treasure each one you get. For today, we hope you enjoy our latest issue of Mused!
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Winter Solstice 2016 - Volume 10, Issue 4
Sometimes it seems as if winter quotes make winter out to be a necessary evil which exists only for us to appreciate the subsequent warmth. Shelley: "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" Shakespeare: "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York." Hugo: "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
But winter is far more than a down against which to compare the subsequent ups. Winter is a powerful, magical time. It is a season of strength. Of looking inward and finding focus. Bob Seger stated, "I write probably 80 percent of my stuff over the winter." Terri Guillemets reminds us, "The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination." The Winter Solstice is a time to embrace the mysterious. The endless possibilities. The sense that we already have, within ourselves, boundless creativity and opportunity. We simply have to still ourselves and listen.
In artwork, Mark reminds us again of just how stunning the tiniest of creatures can be. Slowing down and becoming mindful of the life around us allows us to treasure every aspect of nature. Kim's cat highlights how precious our smaller family members can be.
For poetry, Chani presents an unusual take on the seasons. Rather than summer fields slumbering under a layer of white snow, she envisions a humid August afternoon where it's frost which is lurking, waiting, knowing its chance to thrive is coming soon. Craig treasures the joy that comes with swirling snowflakes.
In fiction, Carol follows a woman from the warmth of Hawaii to the chill mountains of Vermont, where women celebrate the beauty of life in a swaying, traditional dance. Rosanne creates a scene with Christmas Eve representing a fresh start.
Non-fiction is always our most poignant. Candice shares her work with prison inmates - truly a place of self-investigation and introspection if ever there was one. James relays the story of a survivor of the Fukuyama bombing in WWII. The boy's family heeded the warnings of the US Air Force and fled long before the attack. They were safely in a rural farming village by the time the bombs fell.
Winter is a powerful season. It gives us that space to look back and learn from our history. To look forward and envision what we wish to become. To be fully mindful of the present and be aware how each day has potential for us to speak out and impact the way our world proceeds. To move us toward peace, fulfillment, and an appreciation of what each of us has to offer.
Happy Winter Solstice.
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Fall Equinox 2016 - Volume 10, Issue 3
The autumn equinox, that balance point of light and dark, is closely tied to the moon. In China the Moon Festival happens around the autumn equinox, celebrating gratitude and the warmth of good friends and family. This year it was Sept 15th. Our last eclipse of 2016 was a penumbral lunar eclipse on Sept 16th. It fell in conjunction with the full harvest moon, also a symbol of thankfulness and appreciating those who care about you. The autumn equinox is a perfect time to add to those celebrations. It's a wonderful moment to treasure all we have and to share warmth with those who support us.
Mused's art draws us in to that natural world. From thundering stallions to pensive moths, from delicate bees to hungry tortoises, we are intricately entwined with every living creature which shares our Earth.
Poetry paints rich images. There are mugs of steaming cider, purple mums dancing in the wind, woodpeckers tapping on birch, and ivy-shrouded windows.
Fiction draws us into new worlds. Burdened children find comfort in the orderly marching of ants. A man resigned to a hard life of fishing still dreams of painting in France. We view a dying woman's days through the gaze of her beloved dog.
Non-fiction opens our eyes to the struggles of our fellow travelers on this big blue marble. A woman finds a way to move beyond her unhappy childhood. Two separate stories share unique views of the trauma of a miscarriage. We hear of a childhood in Tehran and a family's new start in New York. A woman, at long last, is able to reconnect with her love of reading.
We all have so much we might take for granted. Often it is something we overlook that another person desperately craves. Take time each day to give thanks for what you have in your life. Even if it's as simple as the food on your plate, the clothes on your back, and the roof over your head, think of all of those who desperately dream for those things.
Treasure every day. For every day is precious.
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Summer Solstice 2016 - Volume 10, Issue 2
For many people, summertime is the perfect time to explore creativity. Plein air artists bring easels to gardens and beaches, showcasing nature's colors in oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Photographers ferret out a million sights to immortalize. Poets and writers stretch languidly beneath a shady oak tree, listening to the gentle buzz of insects, and constructing entire worlds out of the ether.
Our art celebrates the beauty of nature. The grand opening of a sunflower. The delicate wings of a tiger butterfly. An orange lily glistening with summer rain.
Poetry delights us with its rich vision. A playful squirrel tumbles down a tree. Rainbows shimmer out of thin air. The moon waxes and wanes.
Fiction fills us with emotion. One grandmother has playful fun at her last birthday. Another goes on a longed-for trip. One becomes lost in the past while another strives to treasure every day remaining.
Non-fiction takes us into others' lives. One walked right into John Cusack's apartment! Another bids a poignant farewell to her ailing mother.
Our play reminds us that a tree can be precious, when paired with the right memories.
Enjoy the creativity of our community of artists - and then explore your own! We'd love to see your works for upcoming issues!
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Spring Equinox 2016 - Volume 10, Issue 1
The spring equinox is a moment of balance. A time of celebrating the renewal that nature offers us. In China one tradition is to put out fresh seed for the birds, to thank them for their part in the cycle of life. The Great Sphinx, built a staggering 4500+ years ago, was aligned to face directly into the sun on the Spring Equinox. It marked the start of a new year of crops and health. Indeed, in many parts of the world the Spring Equinox was the New Year celebration. It was time to clean the home, feast, and embark on new projects.
What will this new year hold for you?
Mused offers a wealth of springly rebirths for your heart and soul. Beautiful flowers curl and open. Shore birds explore the sand and water. Tiny bugs remind us that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
Poetry reminds us to treasure what is precious. The touch of a loved one's hand. The poignant memories of those who have passed. The tenacity in a tiny seed. The mindfulness that every moment offers something to appreciate.
Fiction takes us into fresh outlooks on life. A struggling writer seeking that first break. A lonely woman hoping her ex might at last return to her. A man who knows he was meant for the bright lights of acting.
Non-Fiction lets us walk, for a few moments, in another's shoes. A young woman in Madrid has a night to remember. A sixties-era student's school assignment haunts her until this very day. A woman, back to visit her family in Iran in 1993, finds that the changes in the culture are powerful and pervasive.
Join us in celebrating this new year - and best of luck to all of your hopes and dreams!
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Winter Solstice 2015 - Volume 9, Issue 4
Few things in life are straight up-and-down. Our Earth tilted toward the sun makes summer; away makes winter. But did you know orbit-wise we're actually closest to the sun on January 4th? So the poor Aussies get a hotter summer with their double-whammy. The exact moment that the tilt gets most extreme, which in 2015 is Tue, Dec 22nd at 4:49am, is one thing, but that closest-point ups the ante. For us Northerners we get a warmish darkest, shortest day. The Southerners are broiling in the close heat of their longest. Our world isn't neatly black or white, half and half. It's about a myriad shades of grey. There's always something else to take into consideration.
Our Mused entries help us explore this multi-layered, overlapping-rippled world we live in. In poetry, a beloved friend can be five, ten, twenty, or sixty. A woman realizes her hair does not define her. Wind rattles homes, writhes songs in trees, and rips away memories.
Fiction entries explore divorce through the eyes of a young girl and a ground-down artist. A family barely holding together unravels at the seams. A teen girl is forced to be the parent when her mother falls into alcoholism. And a young Calcuttan woman reaches out for her dreams of love.
Non-fiction opens a window into fellow traveler's souls. A young woman in 1931 moves to the big city, is relentlessly courted by a telegraph worker for a month, and is swept away in the love of a lifetime. A mere year later, we get to hear about a young girl growing up in North London in 1932. This is the same year that Maria Cuasay's mother was born. Mom worked multiple jobs to support her family - but in the end Alzheimer's wreaked its havoc.
And then we have art - those images which can speak a thousand words. Mark Berkerey proves once again that he is a stunning bug whisperer, turning Aussie insects into miniature works of art. We have floating feathers in a sea of gold and delicately etched silver forests. We have infrared photos and hand-processed film photos. We have paintings done in acrylics, oils, and light. Each draws us into a new world.
Put up your feet. Take in a deep breath. And then join us on this journey of life, one page at a time.
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Fall Equinox 2015 - Volume 9, Issue 3
With this autumn issue we have completed eight full cycles of Mused. The number eight is considered quite lucky in both the Japanese and Chinese cultures. Christians praise the eight blessings of the beatitudes. Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days. Buddhists follow the noble eightfold path to peace and serenity. Eight brings balance and celebration.
I wanted to take this fortuitous moment to thank each and every artist who entrusts us with their works - both the ones we publish and the ones we don't. It is a leap of faith to send in an artistic creation to any magazine and we applaud your courage. There are just so many of you who have become friends over the years. We look forward to the bugs, the landscapes, the delicate poetry and insightful stories.
Thank you, too, to the thousands and thousands of readers who eagerly await to each issue. It is your appreciation and enthusiasm which makes this all worthwhile. We have readers in Alaska and Hawaii, in South Africa and in China, in the outback of Australia and the mountains of Switzerland. We love hearing feedback from each and every one of you. Together we make each issue even better.
A warm thank you to the team at Mused. Every person here is a volunteer who invests hours and hours of attentive effort to help ensure each new issue outshines the previous ones. From carefully reading through the submissions to proofing the chosen works, every step is carefully attended to.
Diane Cipollo deserves extra mention. She singlehandedly creates the beautiful layout of every single issue. She finds color combinations, arrangements, and designs which showcase the beauty of our artists. And she is beyond patient with me as I get struck with bizarre combinations of insomnia and zombie-sleep which have content delayed until the very last moment. She is a consummate artist and talented designer.
The submissions for this auspicious eighth issue are just stunning. Several brought me to tears. There are poems about loving and poems about letting go. Stories that celebrate far off lands and whisper of broken trust. Tales of ghosts, new beginnings, and disintegrating lives. Each one shines.
Be inspired by what our artists offer - and then explore your own creativity. Pick up a camera, a brush, a pen, or a keyboard. Take that first step. Let your voice be heard. It's the perfect day to begin.
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Summer Solstice 2015 - Volume 9, Issue 2
Summertime presents a wealth of faces and opportunities. It is the warmth of racing across a meadow, full of life. It is the lazy languor of relaxing in a hammock, watching the bees buzz. It is the heat of a baking sun shimmering on blacktop. It is the icy cool of a mountain stream as you plunge into its dark depths.
Our visual artists share the joys of summertime. Mark Berkerey looks to the bees, as they quietly go about their floral duties. Christine Catalano gives us a graceful moth who treasures its wings for a brief two weeks. Darryn Rae's acrylic work bursts with color and exuberance.
In poetry, we soak in moonlight on an untouched pillow. We take the hand of a salt-wet child of the sea. We feel the sticky sweat of a hot summer's day. We feel the power of a phoenix rising from its ashes.
Fiction takes us on journeys of the heart. An artist finds her new path after her beloved husband passes away. A man doesn't understand the hunger of unrequited love until he falls into its grasp. A woman who feels she's helping others realizes sometimes the most powerful change comes from within.
As always, it's non-fiction that truly takes one's breath away. A woman who left her family behind to be with her true love contemplates the forks in life's paths. A woman's mother grew up in true poverty in El Salvador; she shares with us a world few of us could imagine.
Summertime is a time for counting our blessings, treasuring those who care for us, and appreciating every day.
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Spring Equinox 2015 - Volume 9, Issue 1
Throughout the long history of mankind, many cultures counted their year as beginning in the spring. Spring was about rebirth. A fresh start. A new beginning at growing a garden, making plans, and exploring this beautiful world that we share. Spring is when possibilities come to life.
Mark Berkery stuns us, as usual, with his heart-achingly-beautiful photos of the tiny creatures which keep our world growing. The Orange Tail Rein Bee is tiny - delicate - and we know how fragile the bee population is right now. The photo reminds us to care for those tiny beings who are so necessary to our web of life.
Lee Evans bring us this same powerful insight with his poem On the Beaten Path. His encounter with an injured bird causes him to take stock of just how much he has to be grateful for.
In fiction, Lucille Margaret Robinson creates an emotionally gripping story of a young girl striving to make sense of her tangle of a world. All around us are innocent children caught in unhealthy situations. We should strive to be aware and reach out that hand.
And in non-fiction, Aileen bravely shares with us what it was like to grow up with trauma which led to "voices" in her head - separated personalities which was her young mind's last-resort attempt to cope with something beyond endurance.
I am humbled and awed by what our contributors have shared with us. Each artist reminds us to open our eyes, to be aware of this endless universe we inhabit, and to nurture a compassionate heart. Reach for the stars - and at the same time care for those around us. We are all on this spinning blue globe together, a pinpoint in the vastness. We should be that change we wish to see in the world.
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Winter Solstice 2014 - Volume 8, Issue 4
The holiday seasons can often seem full of stress and angst, of crass commercialism and outright greed. But if you take the time to slow down, breathe in deeply, and listen, you can often hear the underlying messages of love, support, and peace. We are all on this blue ball of a planet together. We are all drifting in a vast blackness of space. We should treasure each other and the brief blink of time we have available to us.
Mark Berkery astounds us, as always, with his glimpses into a tiny, often forgotten world of fragile, beautiful creatures. Christine Catalano expands our view to the delicate plants which keep us breathing.
Poetry twines us in its rich language. Martha Landman sucks us into a world of pomegranates and goat's milk, where herdsmen interlace with IEDs and hand grenades. John Grey reminds us to release worry about broken windows and mangled gardens - it's the childen's laughter that matters.
Fiction creates fantasy worlds which call to our hearts. Lucy Gregg Muir takes us back to World War II where sick women huddled together on frigid porches, worried about their troops. Isobel Blackthorn brings us into a battered women's shelter where "inmates" are petrified of each creak of the floor.
The Non-Fiction gives us powerful glimpses into the burdens those around us shoulder. Lucy Gregg Muir again touches us - this time with her real-life admission of how she broke her thirteen-year-old daughter's heart by revealing there is no Santa.
Through it all we are reminded of how close we are to each other, how much we are all going through, and why love can be the most powerful force on Earth.
Be at peace.
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Fall Equinox 2014 - Volume 8, Issue 3
Autumn is a season of powerful transition. It brings devastating hurricanes and stunning alterations in landscape. It reminds us to treasure what we have for surely everything can change in an instant.
Our photographers challenge us to look closer - to see the beauty and meaning in each moment. A bright-eyed owl is blind in one eye. A dragonfly seems dipped in gold. A landscape takes on new meaning when seen from a fresh angle. A bird's feathers take on shimmering color and symmetry when viewed from above.
Our poets bring distant worlds to powerful life. We tremble in the powerful aftermath of a destructive thunderstorm. We weep at the tragedy of a Guatemalan village, ruthlessly mown down. We shiver in the frigid distance between a newlywed couple who has begun to split like a withered tree. We wrap ourselves in emotion as a patient grapples with a harsh diagnosis.
Our fiction writers bring to life vibrant worlds which seem all-too-real. A woman hides within herself, fearing her partner and praying for the day she is free of him. A single mother struggles to make ends meet after the untimely death of her husband. A Jewish woman, despite years of rough experiences, risks her heart in a connection with a Polish gentleman.
Our non-fiction writers bare their souls and share their lives. A woman in love with an Indian man discovers how strict their culture's rules can be. A mother nearly loses her young son to the tumultuous sea. A woman struggles to come to terms with her miscarriage. Another finds solace in the vineyards of Italy.
Our playwright explores the complex landscape of dissolving relationships and intertwined connections in a community of artisans and collectors.
Mused itself has experienced a heart-wrenching change. Vannie Ryanes, our beloved team member who had been with us for over ten years, has passed away at 73. Vannie's insight into our selections, and her care for the artists who entrusted us with their creations, was always wonderful to see. She would hold long discussions about the meanings of stories and would invest time even if she was feeling poorly. Mused meant a great deal to Vannie, and Vannie's efforts meant the world to us and to our artist community.
We will miss you, Vannie.
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Summer Solstice 2014 - Volume 8, Issue 2
"For everything there is a season" and I felt this to be so true as I worked on the Summer Edition of Mused. I found myself in step with the season; this season of warmth, bright sunshine, brief rain showers, and powerful thunderstorms. It struck me how much we are connected to each season and the elements it brings; therefore drawing us ever closer in the circle of life.
This connection of life is a reflection of the many artists who contributed to this issue of Mused. I marvel as I look upon photography such as "Dragonfly Love" by Ellen Erlanger, so delicate and fragile. But I look again and there is the towering magnificence of "Mystic Arm, Antelope Canyon" by Albert Rollins, as it stands strong and ageless. As "Mama Mockingbird," also by Ellen Erlanger, seeks to care for her young, I am again reminded of the circle of life.
Many of our poetry entries dealt with life and aging, such as "Still Life" by Marchell Dyon Jefferson, showing us the little girl in pigtails and how she becomes a shadow of herself. But there are lively poems too, such as "That Summer She Lived in a Shoe" by Kathleen Serocki, reminding us to be playful and fun.
The story "A Perfect Day" by Vanessa Horn stirred me deeply as it demonstrated the power of love: when we are weak, when we are strong, and when we need to lean on each other. The story "Going Home" by Ronnie Sue Ellis brings us once again full circle as it shows the beginning of a life together and asks us "can we ever really go home again?" This story shows us that in some ways we can go back and in other ways we never left.
As you read the Summer Edition of Mused I hope you will be amazed, as I was, by the imaginative, creative, and inspirational gifts that are offered by the contributors.
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Spring Equinox 2014 - Volume 8, Issue 1
It's been a long, cold, lonely winter, with heavy news stories and brutal cold in many places. But nature reminds us each spring that the world runs in cycles, that after every darkest night comes a fresh, new dawn. There is hope in the world. Cures are found. Progress is made. Relationships that seemed distant can, with attention, draw closer again.
Our Spring issue of Mused lifts our spirits and shares with us stories of hope.
A tiny bee, so critical for life, is rescued and flourishes. A child delights in simple play. A daughter remembers her father, while a mother tends to her son. A wife reconnects with her husband.
These are the actions which go on around us every day - actions which might not make the front page news, but which, to one family, to one person, mean the world. These are the connections which form the foundation of our world. It's the small connections, one by one, which form the web which supports us all.
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Winter Solstice 2013 - Volume 7, Issue 4
Winter lets us soak in the beauty of dark, relish the serenity of stillness, and find that moment to connect with what really matters in life. It's a time for introspection, for pondering, for seeking within for what makes us who we are.
A drop of rainwater poises, shimmering, with all the time in the world. A carved spiral of a morning glory bud holds still, fragrant with promise. Arches of rock open a window to another world.
Poems awaken the imagination. An elderly, bed-ridden patient soars. A man living off the land compassionately cares for the wildlife which shares his world. A wife shoulders anything and everything for the precious gift of staying at her husband's side.
Non-fiction gives us powerful glimpses into the tensions our world can hold. A ten year old boy in the deep south comes face to face with the brutality of the Klan. A shy Iranian bride learns that marriage can be cold, lonely. A younger sister survives foster care only due to her older sister's constant vigilance.
Fiction brings emotions rich with depth. A mother struggles with the loss of her son. A woman pushes to move on with her life after a rough break-up. Another sorts through a relationship, wondering if it's worth hanging onto.
Our play looks at relationships, connecting, and letting go.
Take time to breathe. Curl up in a blanket, pour a glass of tea, and let it in.
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Fall Equinox 2013 - Volume 7, Issue 3
Autumn is a time of beauty and gratitude, of appreciating all nature has presented for us and soaking in the serenity of our world around us. Medieval folk would refer to this simply as "harvest season" - for to them that was the key function of this time of year.
Artwork explores nature's glory in this harvest season. A sunflower glows with gold and brown. A single drop on a leaf glistens with shimmering color. A skilled banjo player shares his love of music.
Poetry brings us in further. Sage smoke rises from the center of a labyrinth. Henna and fuchsia leaves delight the eye. The vanilla fragrance of an orchid warms the heart.
Non-fiction lets us step into another's shoes. A young girl stands up to bullies. A young woman finds her path in life. A daughter struggles with her father's aging.
Fiction explores the realms of growth. A teen girl balances between childhood and adult issues. An adoptive mother comes to terms with her mix of emotions.
Photographer Joann Vitali demonstrates to us how beauty is all around us, if we simply take the time to slow down and be aware. A meadow beneath an apple tree, or a window frame onto a wooded back yard - each can present a moment to savor.
Come savor the moment with us.
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Summer Solstice 2013 - Volume 7, Issue 2
The Summer Solstice is a time of light, of strength, of warmth, and of celebration. Our English word "Summer" comes from the Norse word "sumar", and it's probably fitting that those Scandanavians found joy in the longest day, to offset their frosty winters. Looking even further back in history, the word "Solstice" traces to Latin, where it means "Sun Stationary". In the winter the sun races across the sky, eager to burrow back down into night again. In the summer the sun lingers, serenely, bathing us in its golden glow.
Our artwork celebrates the beauty of summer. Orchids burst in a cascade of pink and ivory. Macro photography reminds us that rainbows come in all shapes and sizes. Drifting seeds provide a glimpse into the fleeting beauty which makes a moment magical.
Poetry creates scenes of lyrical wonder. We relax while fishing by warm mud and cottonwood. A roseated sea sprays bursts of pastel foam amid jaded greenery. A quiet cottage holds summer memories as time fades them into a dusty past.
Fiction stories draw us into fresh visions of the world. A man valiantly seeks out chocolate for his lover in after-hours France. A woman moves back to her home town and ponders the changes life brings. An elderly man and young girl consider the meaning of God.
Non-Fiction opens windows into the lives of those around us. A sister struggles to cope with a brother who faces challenges. A daughter becomes the parent for her aging father. A wife navigates the rocky road of a cheating husband and a beloved dog who is fading.
Our play glimpses a remnant of the elegant South, a world of carriage houses and azalea gardens. Our interview celebrates the music of Neptune's Car, where singer-songwriter Holly Hanson explores the beauty of the sea and the strength of a female captain.
Pour a glass of cool water, stretch out on the shady hammock, and enjoy all the issue has to offer!
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Spring Equinox 2013 - Volume 7, Issue 1
Seven is a lucky number in many cultures. There are seven stunning wonders of the world. We bask in seven shimmering colors of the rainbow. The Chinese have seven gods. In the Bible, Jericho is circled seven times. We each have seven chakras which bring us energy. And today, Mused turns seven! Welcome to our seventh year of the Mused Literary Magazine. We're thrilled to have you in our community!
Our seventh season is full of insight and illumination. A transcentandly beautiful cyclamen bud swirls in seven shades of peach. Seven poignant syllables illustrate the end of a moth's brief, incandescent life. Seven stanzas explore the nature of redemption.
Sometimes seven can define our world. A convict's claustrophobic cell is only seven feet wide. For one girl, the Seventh of July becomes a day she can never forget. Church bells chime out the seventh hour over a sleepy town.
Enjoy the richness of spring, and bring the beauty, joy, and magical quality of seven into your own life. The world spreads out before you, ready for you to embrace it. Cherish your insights. As author Sharon Salzberg remindsd us, "pay attention to them with as much balance and compassion as possible." They are there to lift you, to help you grow and find your serenity.
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Winter Solstice 2012 - Volume 6, Issue 4
At exactly 6:14am on Friday, December 21st, 2012, we had both the Winter Solstice, which happens every year, and the Mayan End of the World, which happens less frequently. Of course, the world continued turning as usual, and mankind had the same joy and discord, serenity and stress, love and jealousy that it always seems to have. These milestones serve as reminders to us that nature cycles within its patterns and that we strive to learn and grow with each new dawn.
A sunset in Boston glows in tangerine and gold. A lost love echoes with poignancy after twelve long years. A frozen lake and frosted trees captivate us. A trekker struggles to the top of Kilimanjaro and soaks in the beauty. An auction bidder struggles to rein in her compulsions.
There are oriole chicks crying for their mother, a wife crying for help, an elderly woman remembering the ravages of World War II. A car dissolves into the wilderness of weeds, and a moon rises high over Zion.
Welcome to winter, and breathe in the blessing that comes with every new morn.
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Fall Equinox 2012 - Volume 6, Issue 3
The Autumn Equinox is the fulfilment of our dreams, the achievement of our goals, and the enjoyment of the fruits of our labors. Farmer's markets are overflowing with succulent vegetables. Sunsets become even more spectacular. Tangerine butterflies and golden leaves soothe our soul.
Poetry celebrates this arrival of delight. We savor the beauty of painted skin, peer through the subtle wrapping of fog, and watch the shadows of ourselves walk before us.
Non-fiction soaks us into the world of a teenage girl's crush on her teacher. We hear about a new addition to a family which brings joy and delight.
Fiction draws us along on twists and turns. A couple loses themselves in projects when life becomes too painful to face. A widow begins to take a fresh look at the world.
Bethany Hamilton is a beacon of bright, unadulterated joy for living. After a shark attack left her without her left arm, she could have retreated from the world. Instead she leapt back on her surfboard, took on every new challenge, and became an inspiration to us all. Her message to us - "I would encourage you to just LOVE LIFE!"
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Summer Solstice 2012 - Volume 6, Issue 2
The Summer Solstice is the exact point in each year when sun is at its very highest point in the sky. This is a pinpoint moment in time, an amazing astronomical event. Intriguingly, it can happen at all periods of day or night because of our imperfect calendar. Some years the summer solstice is at 11:28am GMT - nearly noon. In other years, like in 2012, it can be at 23:09pm GMT - nearly midnight. Sometimes it's on the 20th, and sometimes it's on the 21st. That is the wonder of this universe we live in. We force artificial calendar systems on a beautifully natural cycle, and sometimes they misalign.
It can be wonderful to release the shackles of our man-made constructs, if only for a little while, and breathe in the natural cycles of the world around us. Absorb the delicate beauty of the pink petals of a camelia. Bask in the golden glow of sun streaming through clouds. Be drawn by the warm invitation of an open pair of pasture gates, leading beneath the gentle arch of a tree. Sometimes nature wows us with a "super moon" reflecting over an ocean. Sometimes it is the delicate tracery on the tiniest of insects which reminds us that beauty comes in all sizes.
Poetry paints images richer than life. Sifting dirt through fingers helps ease the clutter of the mind. A solitary cyprus is lashed with sand and salt. Golden aster stretch along a bank drifting with mockingbird song.
Non-fiction reminds us of the power of nature. A family struggles against the raging Texas fires of 2011. But in some cases society can be even more harsh. A girl growing up in India is treated as a commodity, to be traded off at auction to the best husband available. A woman in her sixties feels as if women in her age group are not allowed to dance.
Fiction encourages us to treasure every moment. A brother and sister take in the final words of their beloved mother. An elderly woman looks back on her life with both appreciation and regret.
Our feated artist, Karen Noles, brings to life gorgeous images of Native Americans and the natural world they adore. With it, she strives towards "elevating the human spirit. There are so many ways to accomplish this. Everyone has their own unique gift." Soak in our latest Summer Solstice issue of Mused, and then seek to nurture your own gifts. We all have something to share, and a unique message to bring to our world.
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Spring Equinox 2012 - Volume 6, Issue 1
Spring opens our minds to the promise of a fresh beginning. A mossy path lures us into a quiet forest. The mists of sunrise shroud a serene landscape. A jeweled wasp reminds us that beauty comes in all sizes and shapes.
Poetry brings out the beauty in a fog-shrouded bay; it encourages us to breathe in deeply from the lilac dawn. It reminds us to drink in the glory of a lone wisteria making its home by a busy highway.
Fiction draws us to treasure each day and appreciate what we have. A poor coal miner's wife struggles to make do with the few coins she has. A caring manager shows how much people can help each other in times of trouble.
Non-Fiction brings us into the complex world our fellow artists share. A woman strives for natural childbirth despite her fears. A daughter regains treasures from a war-torn past. A breast cancer survivor shows us the power of inner strength.
Come share in the amazing stories and creations our artists have shared. Give thanks that our community is composed of such stunning talents, opening their hearts and minds with us to celebrate this new spring together.
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Winter Solstice 2011 - Volume 5, Issue 4
Winter infuses our world with magical beauty. Trees become glistening creations of white, frosted with snow and gilded with ice. Misty landscapes remind us of the serenity of solitude. Drops of water become shimmering jewels.
Poetry wraps us in the sensations. Blue holiday lights reflect merrily off of car hoods. Cozy fires blaze to warm frosty toes. Weary shoppers in line lose track of the true meaning of Christmas.
Fiction gives us garlands of glowing lights in Delhi, India along with a Christmas celebration embraced by mist and ancient cedars.
Non-fiction looks back at relationships. A woman muses about what type of cake her absent father might have wanted. A man remembers fond moments in a life with an alcoholic father.
Winter is a season of nature's essence. We gaze at the bare bones of trees, rocks, and landscapes, and glimpse the ethereal harmony which has always been there. It is a time to offer gratitude for all that we have, and all we can dream of becoming.
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Fall Equinox 2011 - Volume 5, Issue 3
Autumn with its rich, vibrant hues inspires us to breathe in the richness of life and celebrate each day. There are the exuberant images of whales waving hello against the mountains of Antarctica. Then there are the tiny, 8mm beauties which radiate an ethereal glow. In between are the landscapes so serenely beautiful they seem like a fantasy brought to life.
Poetry paints the air with its mosaic of sounds. We are seduced by the wail of a saxophone and haunted by the images of a woman struggling against cancer. A sister comes to term with her fractious relationship with her sibling. Young love blossoms on the wooden slats of a dock's edge.
Fiction twists our emotions as an expectant mother fears the worst. A lonely woman craves the grace of dancers' delicate movements. An abused woman clutches at her options and seeks escape.
Non-Fiction aims the spotlight on the experiences of our community. A grandmother struggles with the loss of her beloved mother. A tour guide in Alaska enriches visitors with knowledge of the Tlingit culture. A wife finds friction with her tough-old-bird husband, yet appreciates why they remain side by side.
Life is not a smooth, effortless sail from one coast to another. It is often rough and stormy, with fierce squalls and periods of dead calm where all motion seems to be lost. Maybe it is these stops and starts which remind us to look around us with an active eye and appreciate the beauty which inhabits every corner of our world. Every moment has something to teach us, if we would but stop and listen.
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Summer Solstice 2011 - Volume 5, Issue 2
The longest day of the year drenches us with sunlight, opening our eyes to the beauty of the world around us. Crater Lake drowns us with sapphire blues and shimmering whites. Candy Colored Beetle shimmers iridescently. Urban Bird discovers a perfectly camouflaged home. Drifting Turtle embodies serenity with impressionistic beauty.
Our poems paint rich images in our minds. Sanctuary creates a sacrament of soft sunlight. Spring Breakup layers silver-grey wolf willows by a still-frozen lake. Taming the Wild twists branches of mugo pine while Sheets whirls linens into rejoicing Sufi dancers.
Fiction stories draw our hearts into previously unseen worlds. A New Life delves into a young girlīs experience in a puppy mill. May holds hands with a grieving widow who knows her husbandīs life was less than squeaky-clean. Affairs of the Heart spends a rain-freshened day in India with a woman struggling with Alzheimerīs.
Non-fiction shares in the realities of life. My Trip to Iran grapples with caring for an elderly parent. Loss, Love, and Learning processes the pain of losing a beloved horse. Grounded memorializes the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Then Grasp Life reminds us to treasure every day and to be grateful for the blessings in our world.
Enjoy the longest day - and every day. Life is precious. Each day we can draw in the beauty and richness of our world is a present.
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Spring Equinox 2011 - Volume 5, Issue 1
Spring is a season of contrasts. The bleak edges of winter are gentling into a softer welcome. The crisp monochromatic spirals of a staircase become mirrored by the peach petals of a flower. A resting duck is reflected in the still waters of its pond. Life begins anew.
Poems echo the swift, darting nature of a hummingbird and catch vainly at fading memories scattering like crickets. Red geraniums and purple fragrance encourage us to drink deeply.
Fiction walks with a jilted bride constructing a new start and a widow releasing the relics of the past. A young woman contemplates being responsible for another woman's children.
Non-Fiction illuminates. A nicotine addict reveals her painful struggles. A visitor to Ghana discovers just how much there is to share with others. A young girl realizes the insidious power of a lie.
Dyan deNapoli shares the heartache and redemption of saving 40,000 penguins from a devastating oil spill. Learn what you can do to make a difference.
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Winter Solstice 2010 - Volume 4, Issue 4
The darkest night of the year, the moment when sunlight begins to grow and re-enter our world. The Winter Solstice. Our 2010 issue of Mused celebrates a renewal of our soul.
Handmade ornaments celebrate the natural beauty of wood and sea urchin. An elderly lady in China waits patiently with her wares. An empty bench invites you in for a rest.
A snowman ornament brings back memories of a gentler time. One poem celebrates a youth of watermelon juice and dark chocolate. Another delves the depths of a woman beyond despair.
Fiction stories explore the challenging world of Alzheimers and the crumbling charade of a failing marriage. Yet hope springs eternal, as another relationship tentatively unfolds.
Non-fiction tales give us a first-person view of the immigration process, of fighting through breast cancer, and spending Christmas alone.
Denise Mancuso, an artist in soap, creates visions too beautiful to eat. Her mission for you - "Find what you like to do, and follow through"!
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Fall Equinox 2010 - Volume 4, Issue 3
Autumn nurtures us with a swirl of vibrant colors, a snuggling of comfy sweaters, and a cupping of hands around warm, fragrant tea.
Poems draw you in with flying geese, butterscotch leaves, unruly gusts of wind, rolling thunder, sparkling cobblestones, misty clouds, lavender scented steam, and kaleidoscopes of emotions.
Artwork reveals a fog-enveloped pier, a rustic covered bridge, an ancient rock arch, traditional rooftops in France, and a glowing sunset in Hawaii.
Fiction stories envelop us in the world of a manipulative husband, a litter of kittens, and a wife who struggles to be secure.
Non-fiction lures us into a dusty attic, cringes from an alcoholic father, holds us tenderly during the passing of a beloved cat, and visits with the revered Eleanor Roosevelt.
Fantastic wood carver Janel Jacobson, who turns tiny pieces of wood into exquisite works of art, shares her inspiration with us: "What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. --Goethe"
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Summer Solstice 2010 - Volume 4, Issue 2
Summer. Sprawl on the hammock and soak up the richness of Mused. A stroke-affected woman struggles to move on. A hospital patient finds strength to make a choice. Depression, loneliness, angst-filled remembrances - and also hope, longing, spell binding beauty.
Images nestle you in the hills of Sicily, walk with you along the Great Wall of China. Thunder with a horse in full gallop, rest with a pelican by the water, and share the tiny world of a ladybug. Feel peace with the mountains of the Grand Tetons.
Fiction stories send us back to a childhood of boiling crabs and avocado-green appliances. They muse about angels and peer into overflowing inboxes, full of curiosity.
Non-fiction shakes up our view of the world. Recovering from a breakup. Galloping full tilt across a Cairo desert. A play lazes on a Southern porch with a pair of flirtatious seniors.
Interviews help us grow and expand our horizons. Kendra Tornheim provides a wealth of information for crafters who want to start selling their wares. Learn from Lori Bernard how fictional short stories are created. She sums up our world beautifully - "some are sadder and will make you think, some are happier and will make you cry; some have that 'ah-ha' moment, and some have an unexpected twist." Join us for the journey.
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Spring Equinox 2010 - Volume 4, Issue 1
Spring welcomes us with the freshness of a golden new day. Curl your toes in the warm sand of the New Jersey shore. Dip your fingers in the cool waters of an Italian waterfall fountain. Nuzzle the soft fur of a shaggy Scottish Highland cow.
Poetry adds in language to the visionary mix. Decorate your cheeks greenly with fingerpaints. Inhale fragrant lilacs. Savor the tangy-sweet juiciness of orange slices. Fiction stories expand the emotion. Enjoy a playful romp with a tumble of puppies, savoring the sunshine. Tag along at a western wedding in Albuquerque.
Non-Fiction sprinkles in the spice of reality. A couple drifts peacefully down the Presumpscot, accompanied by dragonflies and red-winged blackbirds. A remembered childhood is redolent with scents of cinnamon and brown sugar.
Featured poet Jody Zolli encourages us all. "Don't give up, keep at it." The spotlight is yours. "I want the reader to follow the words wherever it takes them. Once a reader is involved, it's no longer my poem, it's their poem."
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Winter Solstice 2009 - Volume 3, Issue 4
Winter solstice. For one day we have the shortest amount of light, the most darkness. Then, slowly, resolutely, the sun returns.
Mused Winter Solstice 2009 captures the hush as our world prepares for a fresh start. Poetry begins the journey. In Winter Moments we glimpse perfection in a snowy day. Adieu poignantly paints the leaving of a cherished home.
For fiction which reflects reality, Blackberry Winter muffles us with "three strikes" in rural Georgia - "a girl, colored, and ugly". Our real life stories are even more compelling. Epileptic Journey traces a family's struggle with seizures. Asylum peeks behind the bars of a psychiatric ward.
The artwork of Mused illuminates. Path to Nowhere reveals a New York forest, Gloomy Day a Newfoundland harbor, Rutland State Park a quiet Massachusetts lake.
Nancy Dietrich reveals how writing was a life-saving escape from an abusive marriage. As she documented her life stories, "I finally started to gain some distance from each episode. And only then could I start to heal."
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Fall Equinox 2009 - Volume 3, Issue 3
Autumn - glorious foliage, a cup of tea by a crackling fire. Photos embrace you. A dappled hacienda in Mexico, drifting clouds in Switzerland. A delicate jellyfish dances through the deep blue. Poems echo with a longing for Prague and shattered fragments of loss.
Stories bring hope in a myriad of guises. One woman resists her 'doll house' prison. Another revels in an interracial love. A woman who had given up on finding a partner tries one more time. A play draws us into the loss of dreams - and the birth of hope - in a quiet nursing home.
Real life proves even more inspiring. The death of a beloved dog provides wings to set the owner free. A tragic car crash fills the victim with a fresh enthusiasm for life. Wide-open doors in Lebanon draw fresh breezes on a wedding day.
Jewelry artist Shahasp Valentine inspires: "Create what you love, love what you do. It's hard work to be sure but there's nothing more satisfying than creating something from nothing and watching it grow and blossom."
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Summer Solstice 2009 - Volume 3, Issue 2
Summer's gentle breezes encourage us to slow down, look around, and drink in the beauty of nature. The smallest grasshopper can offer a warm chuckle. Dragonflies balance on thin branches. Roses and marigolds are life's living jewels. Intermingled with these images are visions of a different dimension. One poem puzzles at the mystery of autism. Another immerses us in a summer thunderstorm. The stories accompany us on journeys - to a subterranean memorial in France, to an ancient church in Malta, to a quiet farm in rural India.
Become immersed in an account of attending Obama's inauguration in Washington DC. Then nestle in for more personal stories - the helpless sadness as a father's life fades, the nervous pride as a mother watches her child stretch his wings and fly.
End with the warm embrace of immense inspiration via singer Mary Travers, member of Peter, Paul and Mary. Mary touches millions with her social activism. Her final words in the interview: "Be kind to your neighbor."
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Spring Equinox 2009 - Volume 3, Issue 1
Spring is the eternal allure of fresh possibilities. Open your eyes with glowing photos - the beacon of a lighthouse on Nantucket's shore, the gentle orange sunrise over Cadillac Mountain. Rise up in a patchwork hot-air balloon and drift by a fishing spot in Tennessee.
Poems add another layer. Step into a sphagnum bog, spring-clean an attic of memory-rich toys, feel your heart awaken to a friend's care. Expand further with rich stories of fairy pageants and tropical goddesses. Ground your feet in non-fiction musings on a flower thriving in a grimy parking lot. Treasure the power of silence in a world of buzzing noise. Gain insight into living with Multiple Sclerosis. Feel the changing perceptions of the world as a woman goes from pert cheerleader to heavy older woman. Glimpse another culture with a 1959 letter about New Year's Eve in Ipanema, Brazil.
An interview with author and musician Glynnis Campbell provides practical advice on achieving success - "Absolutely follow your heart."
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Winter Solstice 2008 - Volume 2, Issue 4
Winter encourages us to snuggle in and reflect on life. Draw inspiration from photos of snow-covered Mount Elden, from a junco clinging to an ice-coated branch, from the glowing blue chill of a glacial waterfall. Head cross-country at Buffalo Park, then meander by a snowy Rhode Island vineyard.
Poems wrap around us with rhythmic thoughts. A grandmother with Alzheimers slips between now and then. Snowflakes drift down while the tide ebbs and flows. A lonely woman shuffles along a plank floor. Stories expand the vision - a beloved aunt betrays a girl's trust. An ill woman faces traumatic surgery. A botanist retreats to a French monastery.
The real world provides its own tales. A girl grows up tomboy-style in the 1920s. An elderly neighbor is forgotten by those around him. A book lover shares her obsession, a mom embraces her chaos.
In the end, one person, one act, can make the difference. "Solace" ends thusly - "I had an awful day. It's great to find you here when I come home."
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Fall Equinox 2008 - Volume 2, Issue 3
Autumn - appreciating the results of hard work. Our photos display the satisfaction of reaching your destination, the serenity of a Japanese garden, the ease of a resting alligator. Enjoy a golden sunset and a snoozing swan. Our poetry conveys imagery of waving corn stalks, indolent cats, the sweet smell of cinnamon and apples, an arrow of geese heading south. Stories imbue fragrances of golden marigolds, a mystery laced in answering machine messages, a tale of a quiet diner, and a quest for dinosaur eggs.
Crossing into modern day reality we have a stunning tale of a wife who weathers abusive husbands and perseveres. Equally inspiring is a woman who volunteers in Vietnam with orphans.
We celebrate a discussion with Karen Allen - amazing actress, phenomenal fabric artist. Her message to all artists is this: "As James Taylor says in his song, 'the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time'. If you're doing something you love to do, you're going to enjoy the passage of time."
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Summer Solstice 2008 - Volume 2, Issue 2
Summer's sultry heat bakes our senses. Our artwork resonates with the shimmering yellow of the Valley of the Sun, the baked brick of the Canyon de chelly, the exotic pyramids of Egypt. Visions reflect the layers of the Grand Canyon, the striped boats of Ventimiglia Italy, the pinholes of a vampire's kiss.
Poems bring to life azaleas, tea leaves, lazy summer days and shellin' purple-hull peas. Stories draw in the drama with scrambled eggs and a camping trip by the Pacific.
Real life stories add even more poignancy with kind stepmothers, the acceptance of mistakes, the love of flying. There is the trauma of a grandmother with Alzheimer's. A woman celebrates her 40th birthday with a fire circle while wives discuss what women want and deserve. We give equal time to menopause and PMS, two decidedly feminine situations.
The power of summertime infuses us to the end, as evidenced by "Thunder" -
The crash far away;
a mild timpani remains
rumbling me to sleep.
Online HTML Version of Summer Solstice 2008
Spring Equinox 2008 - Volume 2, Issue 1
Spring brings new life to a thawing world. Gaze on a lamb resting in Wales, a church doorway in Germany, a pair of Ibis in the Everglades. A deep crevice of layered rock becomes a birth canal. Reflect on a placid pond and a conte swirl.
Poetry draws you in further. A young sand goddess builds a beach castle. An older woman feels comfortable in her skin. Stories highlight misconceptions about saving money, the tug-of-war between mother and daughter, the slow awakening to romance.
Non-fiction stories celebrate the small victories of getting older, the challenges of living in the tundra, the transition from tomboy to curvaceous woman. An Asian woman rides the metro bus through Los Angeles, an American woman breathes in cardamom in Iraq.
We all deserve a shelter, a place of peace we can retreat to. "A Soul's Oasis" ends with this:
Most vital is this quiet space, a refuge from
the hectic day; I so do love this beautiful place where all
my cares just drift away.
Online HTML Version of Spring Equinox 2008
Winter Solstice 2007 - Volume 1, Issue 1
BellaOnline's premiere issue of Mused penetrates life's wintry chill and brings warming inspiration. Drift past undulating fractals, spiraling metal and prickly saguaros. Draw in a somber raven and a delicate butterfly. Poetry reminds us of the challenges of love, the beauty of blanketing snow, the power behind elderly hands, the delight in small gifts to a child.
A midlife woman in India has her life turned upside down by pregnancy. An aging pair of sisters share their love. A woman grieves over the loss of her beloved dog. Reality draws us in further. A Texan woman becomes a powerful mentor. Wrinkles take on new meanings. A road trip across the US highlights the beauty of the world, while an introspective piece examins the journey of life. A daring young woman explores the Dominican Republic solo and survives.
Whatever your path in life, make the most of each day. As "Mature Hands" muses,
The priceless tools of my trade
these seasoned hands
still have much to do.
Online HTML Version of Winter Solstice 2007
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