Inspiration: Musings on Muses (Part 1)

Terrifying Explosion in Beirut Wasn't Nuclear, Experts Say, And ...

image: ScienceAlert

Why do I write?  In one sense it is to express myself.  In yet another, it is a deeper art in which I express possibilities.  The idea of ideas – possibilities beyond expressions of myself, but of things not experienced (at least) by me.  These inspired thoughts are the subject of this rambling musing on muses and musings.

Inspired is a simple word – “to breath in,” “to receive spirit.”  But what is the muse?  Love poems come easy to me when I am in love.  My lover is the best muse possible for such poetry.

But what of my darker works?

It is amazing how diverse prompts from daily life can come together to take-on lives of their own.  It is evident in the writing process of my poem Saving Face.  This poem was virtually spontaneous at about midnight after a long day.   The night before, I had watched a film which informed it.  The day was ending with news of a huge explosion in Beirut.   Deja vu was my initial reaction, alongside with a cold shudder having had friends killed in the 1983 bombings there.  This began a series of free associations which culminated in the poem.

So what was that process?  The shock of an explosion in Beirut brought about memories of the young men killed there in the 80s.  This in turn led to the patriotism they (we) felt about service.  It made the loss seem greater.  Then the realisation, that in 2020 we send our young women to war and its horrors, as well as our “boys.”  Memories of my own service, and of the iconic image from Apocalypse Now of a camouflage-painted face became an image of the “face of war.”  The idea of war as a political agenda, and of politicians needing to “save face,” brought to mind Saving Private Ryan.  Who then would save these young faces of today – this new generation of “camouflage faces?”

But the process does not end with the dual meaning of “saving face.”  The structure itself had its muse.  That inspiration was the aforementioned film watched the day before –  Blade Runner 2049,  Face, Face, Face.

So why do I write?  I write to sort the bombardment of ideas into something tangible, something less chaotic.  I write to give the struggling ideas dome rest and peace.




I will revisit the Muse musings soon, and how love and loss, and new love inspire me.



Lakeland Forever!

Architecture, Fence, Border, Closed, Protected, Secret


The “Riven Times” were coming to an end.  For a half-century, the country had been divided as the result of a partition after the late war.  But the war was not the only thing that seemed to have been lost, the very sense of a national identity had been abandoned by many in the South as well.

To be fair, the idea of reunification and of being a united nation had arisen twenty years before, when international affairs seemed to favour self determination, but this proved to be evanescent.  A hopeful few, which held a faith that the land would again be one, verecundly waited their day to come.  And this would be that day.

Alex walked his post on the partition line.  Across the fenced boundary he could see the vague silhouette of the Northern soldier, as he too walked his post.  Who is this man? Alex allowed himself to wonder.  Was this a total stranger with different values, or some long lost cousin separated from him by time and political events?

Alex shook the thoughts from his mind and stared up at the stars.  There were several hours to go yet before the break of day, and the changes that the new morn would bring.  Till then he would need to do his duty and walk his post as yesterday’s snow crunched softly underneath his feet.

About an hour before dawn people began to arrive along the frontier.  This created some apprehension on Alex’s part.  He knew the border was to open, but his orders were sketchy at best.  Will it be as soon as the sun rises?  Noon maybe?  That would symbolic an hour, he mused.

The sun rose to a chilly morning, and hundreds of people now gathered near the crossing.  As the morning wore on, the crowds grew, and many were showing a distinct lack of patience.  Alex felt the weight of his duty all the more now.  The standing orders were clear, “No person without explicit clearance shall cross the border on pains of death.”  How could I stop such a crowd?  Would I want to?  Not today of all days.

At Nine O’Clock, Alex’s relief failed to arrive.  At Ten, an officer came and after a brief conversation on the radio, began to obfuscate to the frustrated crowd.

“The border will open today, as per the treaty agreement, and you will be able to freely pass.  The details are being arranged as we speak,” he assured them.

At noon, several official vehicles, along with dignitaries and reporters arrived.  A boring speech was made, and Alex was ordered to slowly open the gate.  News cameras captured the moment when young Corporal Alex Alexson lifted the barrier, and was the first to step across the frontier, and into the arms of the welcoming Northern soldier.

Jubilant crowds then streamed both ways across the border chanting “Lakeland Forever!”



Wordle #200:  “We have a special 20 word wordle in honor of the 200th Wordle . . . . Choose at least 15 words.

Obfuscate– to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
Evanescent– vanishing; fading away; fleeting.
Verecund– bashful; modest

Intelligence Report

Ufo, Spaceship, Aircraft, Drive, Nozzles, Research


“Is the intelligence report ready, Lieutenant Zorg?”

“Yes Commander” the Vivivian replied.

“A brief synopsis, please,” the Commander instructed.

“Very good, Commander.  The third planet has limited useful resources owing to over exploitation, but may well be a viable contact opportunity.  Our analysis of the communications from the planet suggest that the two dominant species seem to be “Humanians” and “Covidians,” though we have only really been able to decipher the communications of the former.  It seems that there is presently a conflict, and the Humanians are in disarray at recent offensive moves by the Covidians.”

“Interesting” the Commander said. “Continue.”

“As I have said, this is all from the Humanian perceptive and they are divided in their responses.  The two biggest factions seem to be Maskers and Anti-Maskers.”

“Maskers?” the Commander queried.

“Ah yes – masks seem to be some sort of artificial barriers that are placed over the respiratory organs of these creatures.”

“Hmm,” the Commander said contemplatively.

“The whole thing seems to have led to unrest as well with many Humanians avoiding the hostilities by isolating themselves and maintaining a distance from others of their species of what we calculate to be 0.6 of a Xeih.   Others, however seem to be calling for the “taking of a knee,” some sort of bending of one of their self-propulsion organs.  This seems to be resisted by one of the three main species leaders, a um, yes that’s it, Trump.”

“So they have a divided command structure?”

“Yes Commander – the other world leaders seem to be a Fauci, and a Greta.  That is all we have at the moment though.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant. I think we will wait for their hostilities to end before we land and offer them universal health and happiness.  They don’t seem prepared for it yet.”



Crowning Glory


Unicorn, Forest, Fairy Tales, Mystical


Dora was the plainest maiden in all the kingdom.  Some even said that she was ugly.  It was precisely that fact that led to her retaining her virtue far beyond the time in which it was relinquished by her peers.

This purity, however, was also her crowning glory, for she could see and converse with unicorns.

“Oh, I wish I was as beautiful as you,” she said to Daisy, one day.

“And I wish I had your lovely voice,” the unicorn replied.

They were suddenly transformed, but Dora could tell no one – for she had become a little horse.




Flash Fiction Challenge




It had been a long journey and it was taking its toll on Wayne.  His back ached, and his neck was a mass of knots.  But it was his heavy eyelids that were the real concern.  Five Starbucks’ through the night, and the necessary bladder drains that they had prompted hadn’t helped him on his schedule though.  He knew he should have pulled over and caught some shut eye three counties ago, but this was too important to fall any further behind.  A promise was a promise, especially if it is made to your baby sister.  But now the day was breaking, and the new light was giving him new energy.  He was becoming alive with the light and promise of a new day, and he was going to get to that church, and on time!  What else could a big brother due, especially when he was given his baby sister away?




Tale Weaver – Sunrise


* The method in the story is not encouraged.  I am sure an earlier start, or even a flight might have made it a less risky venture, but a considerably more boring tale.

The Drop


MorgueFIle March2020 25048155fcc7e714dd43ccd8b24785d3

Dmitri stood in the park and scowled.  It hadn’t been a difficult assignment.  All those two fools had to do was take the stolen plans and tape them in an inconspicuous place, like under the phone book in a telephone box, or under the seat of a public bench.  Then all they had to do was send two messages to headquarters.  One to say the general location, and the second for a specific.  Two separate phones, two separate messages – it would limit interception, especially from these two incompetents.

Natasha had said clearly that the drop would be in the central park.  An hour later, as per protocol, Boris messaged that it was under the red bench.

Dmitri fumed as he stared at a park full of red benches.  Meanwhile, a moose and a squirrel laughed from their vantage point behind a fountain, the red paint can and brushes still in their hands.








In Hand


Writing, Write, Fountain Pen, Ink


When I was at school, I was quite proud of my cursive hand with its requite swirls and flourishes.  Many hours were spent trying to replicate the elaborate script that, in white on green, spanned the front of the classroom wall just below the ceiling.

But times, and life moved on and I found myself a teacher in the UK, where my adorned writing caused confusion among my students.  “Sir, why does your ‘n’ look like a ‘m’ and your ‘m’ have three bumps and not two?  Yes, I had inadvertently wandered into the realm of “joined writing,” in which cursive was seen as archaic and unnecessary.

But tides and time wait for no man, and even “joined writing” became something to forget.  If a student could master a keyboard, why spend time with the mastery of a pen?  To touch type was the new scribal talent.

I have often heard students moan “my arm is breaking,” if they needed to hand-write more than a few lines of text.  Primary teachers speak of students who hold pencils gripped in closed fists, rather than between index and thumb.

How far have we journeyed?  Where will it lead?  Will writing in the future even be a thing we need?


Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge:

Today’s prompt: Write a piece of prose or poetry around the words cursive, touch, and forget

Common Land

Sheep, Cattle, Graze, Field

Image by Marjon Besteman-Horn from Pixabay 


This wasn’t some Seuss Lorax or a Horton saving a clover.  No, this was the real deal, the council was trying to sell off the water meadow for development.  Had they considered the added run-off and flood risk? Of course not, they were trying to make a quick buck to balance the books.

Many were up in arms over it, as it was one of the few unspoiled places in the entire town, but it looked a done deal, especially when the words “affordable housing” were uttered.

That was until Mary Denning found the Medieval deed to the property.




Flash Fiction Challenge

The Ranger (The Other Version)


Huong Lan Nguyen at

Sarah awoke with a start.

Where am I?  she thought as her head spun. Oh my God. Where are my clothes?

She sat up on a couch under an unfamiliar window.  The view outside was of a back yard, but not one she could place.  She noted that the room was pretty barren, except for the couch and a couple of wooden chairs.  Everything seemed to be covered with the same sheer white material which served as her only covering as well.

“Well Good Morning Miss Sarah Snoop,” a gravelly Texas drawl remarked as she sat up.

“Shane?” she replied almost involuntarily.

“You expecting anyone else?” he retorted.

“I, I, ” she began and then trailed off.

Okay, I went to ask him about the Vietnam medal because he wasn’t on the data base.  We chatted, and then – then he gave me some tea, she recalled trying to reconstruct her own past movements.

“Darlin’ I need you to do a little something for me, and I might just let you out of here,” the Texan said earnestly.

“What?” she replied starting to tear up.

“I want you to read something aloud for me.”

He handed her a card, and she began to read. “Hey Danny, It’s Sarah.  I had some business to do in Tulsa, so decided to dip down to Austin and check out Shane.  He’s the real deal.  Twenty years a Ranger, and he even got the Silver Star in the war.  It’s right here in his records.”

“Not bad, but try it again and make it sound a little more natural,” Shane said.

After the third attempt he was satisfied, and had her make another recording telling her mother that she was going out of town for a few days.

“Now my dear, we have some business in the kitchen.” She didn’t like the way he put a strange emphasis on the word deer.




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #76

The Ranger



The Ranger

Ranger, Badge, Cowboy, Lawman, Marshal, Outlaw, Police


Danny felt a bit uncomfortable being around his mom’s boyfriend, Shane.  It wasn’t anything he could actual put his finger on, but he just gave him the creeps.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t good to his mother, either.  She had become rather sullen and morose after Dad’s death, and this Shane guy really seemed to put the spring back into her step.

Danny had privately shared his unease with his sister, Sarah who had a very similar take on this handsome man with the long Texas drawl.  Handsome, yes that was part of it, that Robert Redford kind of good looks, that just seemed a bit “too good to be true” when it came to the kind of men that usually showed interest in their rather plumb and ordinary mother.

“And what about his claim to have been a Texas Ranger, and Vietnam war hero?” Sarah had asked.  Whether it was undue curiosity, or a need to protect Mom; Sarah set about checking this guy out with a singularity of purpose.

That had been a week ago.  Sarah had said she was going to go over and sort things out.  Thing is, Danny hadn’t heard from her since.  He had rang her house a couple of times to no avail, and he knew she usually kept her cell phone turned off unless she wanted to make a call herself.

Danny stopped by Sarah’s apartment, and sure enough there was no one home.  He noted too that her mailbox was stuffed full as if she hadn’t been home for days.  He immediately decided that Sarah must have gone to Shane’s to confront him.  Worse still, it most have gone badly.

Danny drove straight to Shane’s place himself to check out his suspicions.

“Hey there Dan, how ya doing Pard?” Shane said as he opened the door.  “Come on in.”

Danny mumbled his thanks and cautiously stepped inside.

“So Dan, what brings you ’round?”

“I um, I just wanted to get to know you a little better,” Danny said replying with a half-truth.

“Well have a seat.”

As Danny sat, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.  There in front of him was a stuffed bald eagle with its claws extended as if swooping for an attack.  He then noted the old 30-30 rifle on the wall behind it and a framed photo of soaring eagles.

“See you’re admiring my eagles,” Shane said, causing Danny to involuntarily start.

“Yes, Yes, impressive birds,” Danny said trying to regain composure.

“Do you play chess?” Sane asked.

“A little, though I’m not that good at it.”

“How ’bout a game anyway?” his host asked.

“Sure,” Danny said.

As they set up the board, Danny asked, “Have you seen my sister, Sarah recently?”

“No can’t rightly say I have,” Shane replied, but your Ma said she was goin’ outta town for some reason.”

Going out of town. Right. Danny thought.  Then why didn’t she tell me?  He’s covering something up.

“Okay, was just wondering,” Danny said aloud.

“You should wonder a bit less,” Shane retorted, “and focus on the game, Pard.”

Shane then sacrificed a knight in order to draw Danny into checkmate.

“I said I wasn’t very good,” Danny said trying to excuse his poor performance. “I think I should stick with Yo-yos.”

“You like yo-yos?” Shane asked.  He then pointed to three framed gold yo-yos on the wall behind Danny.  “Southwest champion 1966-69, back before I went to Nam.”

“Impressive,” Danny muttered.

“How ’bout some ice tea?” Shane interjected.

“Ah – sounds good.” Danny said.

“Come on into the kitchen, and don’t mind the mess.”

As they entered the kitchen Danny saw to his horror what seemed a large blood stain on the floorboards near the counter.

While the lanky Texan had his back turned, Danny slowly reached for a kitchen knife.

Just then Danny’s phone rang.  Scrambling to answer it, he said “Hello” without bothering to see who the caller was.

“Hey Danny, It’s Sarah.  I had some business to do in Tulsa, so decided to dip down to Austin and check out Shane.  He’s the real deal.  Twenty years a Ranger, and he even got the Silver Star in the war.  It’s right here in his records.”

“That’s – that’s um – wonderful,” Danny said.  “Glad you’re okay catch you later.”

“How ’bout some venison for lunch, Pard?” Shane said.  “It’s fresh just butchered it yesterday.  Sorry again for the mess.”




Wordle #199


1. Floorboards
2. Creep
3. Morose
4. Stain
5. Dip
6. Saw
7. Singularity
8. Knight
9. Neck
10. Soar
11. Yo-yo
12. Claw