Unlock the Muse – August 20, 2019

Summer vacations are coming to an end across the U.S. Soon, children will be returning to school, to routine. Before you settle back into your usual writing routine, give yourself one last hoorah. Do something unusual with your writing.

Also, take some time out to go shopping! Back to school sales are a great time to stock up on all kinds of writing supplies. Pens, binders, printer paper, a new desk chair! Give yourself permission to splurge a little, on something. Even if it’s only those super adorable Star Wars push pins. It is, after all, still vacation!

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Take the last bad story you wrote and attempt to edit it into something worth reading.

That story you wrote yesterday, or last year, or whenever, that just didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, take another look at it. Rewrite, edit, reshape the story into what you want it to be.


1. An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

From the late 14c, the word vacation – meaning “freedom from obligations, leisure, release (from some activity or obligation)” – comes from the Old French vacacion “vacancy, vacant position” and directly from the Latin vacationem (nominative vacatio) “leisure, freedom, exemption, a being free from duty, immunity earned by service.”

The use of the word in English meaning a “state of being unoccupied” or “formal suspension of activity, time in which there is an intermission of usual employment,” dates back to the early 15c. As the U.S. equivalent of the British holiday has been in use since approximately 1878.
(from etymonline.com)

Happy writing!

I Heard the Bells

There is a poem written on December 25, 1864 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Originally, he titled the poem “Christmas Bells” and it was written during the American Civil War. It is more familiar these days as the Christmas carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

This has always been one of my favorite Christmas carols. I love the music. I love the words. It is, quite simply, a beautiful message. I recently learned more about this song’s history, and how it was written during a time of deep, personal darkness. This only makes it more meaningful.

This year, in my church Christmas program, this carol is featured, and one night during a rehearsal, I was struck by the words of the song. I heard again these words,

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men!”

I thought of all the hateful words being thrown about every day in this country, and I realized this song is as relevant today as it was the day it was written.

We may not be engaged in a civil war, but our country is bitterly divided. There are forces at work in our nation that want to see us torn apart. We are divided along political lines, racial lines, gender lines. There is so much division, we can’t even seem to agree on what we disagree about.

We make a mockery of ourselves as we clamor loudly for peace and yet we sling ugly slurs at our neighbors. We accuse others of what we ourselves are guilty of, as if by yelling all the louder, we can erase hatred with hatred. Instead of helping, we hurt. Instead of unity, there is division. Instead of peace, we bring violence. Instead of love, there is only hate.

Where hate seems strong, let the bells ring louder. Where there seems only division, let the bells bring us back together. There can be peace on earth, but we must find it first within ourselves. Let the bells of peace and love ring out.

The bells are ringing. They ring out all the louder, spreading their ongoing message of hope and forgiveness, of peace and good will. Are you listening?

Novel No. 4 in B Minor

Something happened today as I pondered the WordPress daily prompt, melody. I love music. It’s always been a part of my existence. I wondered what I might write about this word.

I’ve also been pondering the Twitter #hashtag event #WIPjoy that is going on throughout the month of September. It’s hosted by @simmeringmind, and she’s put together a prompt for every day. I’m already two days behind because September sort of snuck up on me. I’ll get caught up though!


As I pondered these two seemingly separate things on my drive to work this morning they merged into one. I suddenly realized that the novel I’m working on involves a great deal of music. My main character, after all, is a bard. Music is his life.

It occurred to me that this character’s story line is the primary melody of my novel. It is his conflict with the main antagonist that provides the basis for the entire story. At the same time, there are several other supporting characters on both sides of the “good vs. evil” line. These, I decided are the harmonies. They support and compliment the melody line.

I am suddenly excited again about this new revelation I’ve discovered about this novel in progress. This one has been a long time in coming and it deserves to be completed. Let’s make some music!