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The Wonderous Gift of the Muse

Season’s greetings, dearest friends.


I am here, today, on the page, to share some happy holiday cheer.


In follow-up to my last post on the Losses and Gains of Change, and the change I’m going through with Caroline My Blessed Crooked Spine…I have more delicious GAINS to report!


I haven’t marooned myself on this off-season island for the hell of it – to escape humanity, to convalesce, to be alone with my thoughts and the honking waterfowl.


I’m here for a reason. And I’m not alone here.


Yes, I’ve got Caroline my Crooked Spine, now Lucy my Bum-Numb Left Leg, and Helga the Hell-fire Hip. They remind me to take it easy, or else they’ll unleash their wrath of pain upon me.


But now, on the island, I’ve got Marina the Muse.


She only arrives when I slow down; and she’s come to visit every day, during my tea and morning pages. As I freewrite, without lifting the pen from the paper, allowing the words to flow like the island tides, she is right here.


Little ideas spark; sometimes bigger ones, like bottle rockets or roman candles exploding into a wintry solstice sky.


She comes bearing gifts!


Last Saturday, Marina showed up at my sliding glass door.


I was minding my own business, standing at the kitchen counter, slicing into a fresh pineapple – I hadn’t even sat down to the desk for my Morning Pages. It was so quiet, I could hear the fridge hum, the squawk of a gull, as my knife made its first lopping cut, hitting the cutting board with a thwack.


Suddenly, I’d traveled from Chincoteague Island to the Northeast coast of Brazil.

Tropical sun beamed through the cracks in the window shades. The space in the bed beside me was still warm; my lover was in the kitchen – the sound of his machete striking the woodblock had awakened me. He was preparing the fruit for our breakfast.


In present day reality, my own pineapple carving halted. I stepped over to the desk, fired-up the laptop; and my fingers began to type. For the next three hours, the muse seated beside me, the keys clicked and clacked as the sounds, smells and tastes of Brazil washed through me.


Four pages later, I was done with my story. I did a quick edit, reordering a few paragraphs, adding a line here or there, aligning my tenses. Then, without much thought, without inviting feedback from my writers’ group, without even letting the piece gel overnight, I pressed Send on a submission to a literary journal.


The muse made me do it!


Then I sunk my teeth into a real-life juicy chunk of pineapple.


But wait, that’s not the end of the story about my story, or my story about the Losses and Gains of change.


Fast forward five days. A note pops into my inbox from Grace & Gravity Lit Mag:


“Thank you for share your work with us as Grace & Gravity. We loved your piece and would be honored to publish it in Grace in Love, Volume X.”


My mouth gapes open. I continue reading.


“May 1, 2023 is our official publication date. We’ll be hosting the launch party at Politics & Prose Bookstore at 6 pm. Mark your calendar so you can join us!”


“Launch party?!” I exclaim aloud, my voice breaking the maritime hush.


This never happens; I rarely submit my work, because it’s never quite ready, never quite good enough. And when I do, even more rarely, do I get accepted.


So, there you go: There are Losses and Gains to every change.


The Losses are easy to dwell on: Ramblin’ Anne can no longer run; even hiking is difficult; standing at the counter to cut a pineapple, she must prop her right leg on a stool so the left leg doesn’t go numb. I must slow down.


But the Gains are extraordinary: I GET to slowdown and, in the slowing down, I LIVE MY WRITING DREAM!


Not only that: When the ideas flow like they did that Saturday, Caroline relaxes, forgets she is crooked, and the pain softens to a whisper.


Notice this: Sometimes, Loss and Gain are two sides of the same coin.


Tell me: What dreams may you be hiding from in all your run-run-running around?


Stay tuned to an INVITE to a DREAM VISIONING WORKSHOP led by yours truly, AMBLIN' Anne.



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