BellaOnline Literary Review
Bearded Iris by Lisa Shea

Letter to Our Readers
Cynthia Parker Dear Mused Readers and Contributors,

As the seasons move forward, the vivid greens, blues and purples of summer shift to the earthy red, brown and gold shades of autumn. Every bit as beautiful as the season that preceeds it, Autumn has it own special gifts. The air turns crisp, but bonfires and the warm shades of autumn leaves give the season warmth. Walks in the woods replace days at the lake or the beach. Spiced apples replace watermelon. Light, cotton fabrics are replaced by warm wools.

Autumn is a time for contemplation of days gone by and for planning for the future. Such thought processes are often the inspiration for creative artists. This issue of Mused is the fortunate beneficiary of many of those artistic endeavors. The digital photography of Great Blue Heron and Two Swallowtail Butterflies re-examine the joys of summer with the beautiful colors of their composition. Salmon Catcher and Sea Storm remind us that it is time to begin preparing for change that brings its own sense of beauty.

Our fiction authors carry the theme of change into their works and we are fortunate to have them share their imaginations with us. A September Afternoon reminds us that the best changes can be found in the autumn of life if we make a determined effort to live, not just exist. We are reminded that sometimes the difficulties of life are what make it more precious in Shades of Grey in the Circle of Life.

Our interview for the Fall issue of Mused is one with a talented contributor, Lee Evans. Grasshopper Cages, found in this issue, is one of his poetic efforts that has shaped and re-shaped itself over the years in his creative process. I found it particularly interesting that Evans states, "I feel the urge to write as a tightrope walker feels the urge to balance himself." This is how it is with all creative endeavors. The words, the music, the painting, the vision bubbles up from inside like a geyser that can no more be stopped than a bird can swim or a frog can fly. To stifle such creativity is to censor the very soul of the artist.

Autumn is, perhaps, one of the most dramatic changes in the seasons. Winter melts into spring; spring grows into summer; but Autumn bursts onto the scene with vivid color schemes that sharply contrast those of summer and crisp, cool temperatures that cut into summer´s heat. Creative non-fiction is built with that foundation of real-life drama. That August Night provides that real-life drama, while Letters to the Dead: A Collection of Heartbeats allows us to view the journey of one writer to the heart of life itself. Wedding in Sur, South Lebanon reminds us of the beauty that comes from contrast and diversity. The ability to find peace among the chaos of change, the rock-solid permanency that withstands even the tides, is beautifully illustrated in Bar Harbor Souvenir.

Our play for this issue, Three Margarets and a Grace, takes a good look at the purpose of life and its many ups and downs. Can we ever be certain of the lesson we should take away from the relationships we build or the chance encounters we find as we travel through this life? Are they the impact upon us - or are we the impact upon them? Sometimes we never know for certain.

Last, but not least, is our poetry - and the poetry featured in Mused never disappoints this reader. The poetry accepted for this issue well fits the idea that Autumn is a season of change. Not only does Yellow Indian Curry take the reader through the changes of the dish´s ingredients, but it also reminds us of the diversity that exists not only in a nation, but within an individual. Homeless is a stark, realistic look at the poverty that exists in a country where so many have so much. This poem is designed to make the reader think about how we view social issues and I hope that it inspires our readers to get involved in the many community projects available where they can make a difference. Your Face Etched Upon My Skin is a reminder of how quickly life can change and the artistic approach in creating memories.

I raise my coffee mug to all our artists - crafters of words, images and life - and I congratulate you all on a "job well done" in creating a work of art to reflect life as you see it, but most of all, for sharing it with the rest of us!

May you have a colorful Autumn to warm the soul!

Cynthia Parker
Mused Poetry & Fiction teams
Single Parents editor,

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