Muse Hymn Box

Jenny Aarts

Carolyn Aitken

Heather Blakey

Nicole Cody

Elizabeth Hayes

Stephanie Hansen

Jean Houston

Vi Jones

Gail Kavanagh

Tad Kelson

Jan Kricker

Audrey Larkin

Lisa Mahon

Amanda Maruhn

Sue Meyn

Belleruth Naparstek

Kay Marie Porterfield

Jo Ralston

Frances Arnett Sbrocchi

Teresa Seed

Cathy Tudor

Megan Warren

Nicola Warwick







Haunted by the Muse
by Heather Blakey

Mother, mother, what illbred aunt
Of what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and not at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?
-Disquieting Muses 1957 Sylvia Plath


"Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons. Some are actuated simply by a love of adventure, some have the keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden paths by the "lure of little voices", the mysterious fascination of the unknown" ... Ernest Shackleton ...

When I first read Ernest Shackleton's words they resonated for me, tolling like an old church bell, demanding that I stop and take heed. While I had been drawn by the "mysterious fascination of the unknown" I could never imagine being driven to undertake such a gruelling, perilous journey.

Yet it must be said that my own path has been arduous enough. I do not remember precisely when the wily Jack, brayed loudly and caught my attention but I do know that this voice is ever present, constantly reminding me to trust my intuition and follow in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson and travel with a donkey.

To be fair, unlike those disquieting muses that positioned themselves at the left side of Plath's crib this beguiling creature is gentler and he has been willing to carry some of the load. With Jack's support I have, albeit with resistance, been enabled.

I have followed my maternal great grandfather's lead, strapped on my boots, slipped through portals and explored and surveyed new and different cyber regions. I have, at times, been accompanied by a curious cast of bards, crazy people, story tellers, eccentrics, mystics, troubadours, painters and photographers, but now I know that even if I travel alone I must go on exploring. Well it is actually Jack who thinks we have to keep on travelling! Whenever I throw in the towel and mutter about it all being a bit crazy I get a kick for my trouble.

Of course our exploration, our journey all takes place within the mind. In my case writing fills some kind of genetic need, enabling me to be a kind of geographer, surveyor and explorer all at the same time. My great grandfather stepped into 'the boiler' when he traced the steps of the intrepid explorers who had gone before him, surveying vast tracts of western Queensland. In his journal he writes of enduring the most severe conditions in a region where 'a solitary shepherd or stockman in charge of sheep and cattle endure their periods of isolation in a round of existence that can be scarcely called life."

Here at my desk, a solitary writer, I am spared such excruciating conditions, but the demands of being a writer, explorer, are considerable. And now Jack's not so little voice is demanding that I find new means of expression.

In response I have returned to my craft as a Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, pumping out ideas for those who follow in my footsteps at quite a pace. I have to purge myself of ideas that threaten to flood my system and drown my sanity. I cannot hold them back. No dam is big enough. These fragments simply must find expression as my quest to unravel the unknown, to unlock the secret of creativity continues. No sooner does one idea gain life on the page than another bubbles to the surface demanding equal space.

So I come back and back, driven to write more and more. Like Sisyphus my task is never complete. I am left to push my pen across the page, glide my finger tips across the keyboard, at odd times of the day. It is indeed a disquieting muse who has gained power over me and haunts my every move.

What is it that draws you to travel untrodden pathways?

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Heather Blakey asserts the right to be identified as the author of this work