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Mused Literary Magazine Archives

Welcome 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!

Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
Autumn 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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
Spring Eqinox 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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
Autumn 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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
Autumn 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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Mused Literary Magazine
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 girl´s experience in a puppy mill. May holds hands with a grieving widow who knows her husband´s life was less than squeaky-clean. Affairs of the Heart spends a rain-freshened day in India with a woman struggling with Alzheimer´s.

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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
Autumn 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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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Mused Literary Magazine
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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The King and I by Karen Sorbello
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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Bearded Iris by Lisa Shea
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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Oops by Mark Berkery
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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Three Women by Christine Kesara Dennett
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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Keegan by KJ Ward
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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Mountains by William Gibbons
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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Death of Salome
by Kristina Gehrmann
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.

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Shades of Rock by Jill Florio
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.

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Sorcerer by Deb Bonam
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.

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Jill Florio's Year of Mused Blogs

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