BellaOnline Literary Review
Stairs by Albert Rollins

Letter to Our Readers
Cynthia Parker Spring is just beginning to warm the fingers of Winter's icy grip so that it loosens for a few days at a time, offering us the promise of future days bursting with new sights, smells, and sounds. I find myself aching for warmer days and the bursts of color that will explode onto Nature's canvas with the coming of Spring. Then I realize that I am doing exactly what I caution my daughters against - wishing away the day you have for the promise of tomorrow.

As if to enforce this 'wisdom', many of the works featured in this issue of Mused celebrate this very moment! They also hold out hope for the future, but only while emphasizing that hearts belong in today.

Albert Rollins' Stairs is a wonderful digital photograph of a lighthouse staircase in St. Augustine, Florida. While it perfectly illustrates that there is always something new and possibly exciting just around the next bend, it also effectively displays the absolute beauty that can be found in the present. Jeanne Ukwendu's Posing Zebra and Kathryn Moore's The Purple Lotus are beautiful examples that nature - whether wild or captive - is at the heart of living in the moment.

In Mallory Joelle Wycoff's Keeper, one woman is compelled to consider her future in regards to the life-altering plea of close friends. The possibilities are frightening, but when she focuses on the present and its own simple rewards, she knows where her future lies. The heroine in Judith Moore's Rah Rah seizes the present with gusto and claims it as her own, despite those who would attempt to rein her in! She understands the future consequences, but to live in the moment, she is willing to make the sacrifice. Is it all worthwhile? Seize the moment and read the story to find out!

In our non-fiction section, our authors seem to discover that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Francine Baldwin-Billingslea writes about a get-away cruise with friends in The Four Voyagers that leaves all of the vacationers ready to embrace home. In Rachel Robins' The Composition of a Lie the narrator illustrates how the desire to be popular can lead to the realization that popularity is not as wonderful as it may seem.

Our Mused poets were in the mood to try new techniques and we witnessed a variety of forms including the rondeaux and senryu. Even our free form poets found a new burst of creativity as they emphasized the visual aspects of their work through use of capitalization, word placement, and spacing. Lisa Hodges' Senryu, Gary Ioris' Leaving the Shore, and Marla Sue Russell Lubbers' a young bud's fancy illustrate excellent use of form to gain the reader's attention. It also was evident that some poets relied upon word choice to pique our readers' curiosity and they did so quite effectively. Jody Zolli's Pet brings pain to life with her attention-grabbing word choices, just as Aimee Gunoskey gives breath to the feeling of peace in her work, Namaste.

So settle back and enjoy life with all of our artistic creators! We hope that you enjoy this issue of Mused and that our writers, poets, and artists help you indulge in the embrace of this moment!

Cynthia Parker
Fiction Senior Editor

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Spring Equinox 2011 Table of Contents