Image courtesy of Soul Food Artist, Jane Tilton

Australian, Brisbane writer, Nicole Cody is a regular patron at Soul Food. You will find her writing scattered throughout the site. She is a regular contributor on the message board, an active on-line writing group member, the kind of cheer leader every webmaster longs for. She may not have glimpsed the muse but I know that her muse is there, a constant writing companion. Enjoy the work of this sensitive, talented writer.

While the Billy Boils - Bush Yarns
Mind Map - A Web Portal.
Gwendolyn Nelson Watson
Elusive Muse
Kimberly Crocs
Shearers' Cook

Meet Nicole Cody

I haven't seen the face of my muse yet, and suspect the first time I glimpse it will be as I ascend in a tunnel of light towards the Great Creator. I first felt her breath on my cheek when I was a little girl. Alone in my bedroom at night she'd whisper to me all about the noises outside, transforming shadows and creaks into goblins, fairies, monsters and ghosts. She's also talk me through my day, help me reflect on what I'd seen or heard, or touched or smelled. "Remember Nan's house today? Didn't it smell like green apples? Wasn't that lizard spikey? Hasn't the librarian got a deep voice - I bet he's a monster in disguise." As I've got older she somehow elusively leads me to choices I wouldn't ordinarily make, and actions I wouldn't ordinarily take.

She whispers, her skinny fingers turn my head - "Look at that..." I see a woman crying on the bus beside me as I drive home in my car. "Why is she crying?" my Muse whispers in my ear. "Can't you feel her pain? Can't you taste her despair? Why is she crying? Do you remember ever feeling so alone?"

In a supermarket an old woman struggles with her shopping. "Help her," my Muse urges. The old woman is talking to me in broken English. I don't have time. I'm running late for a meeting. "Listen to her story," I am told. I stay, and listen. My meeting goes on without me. I learn of the life of an Italian immigrant, and her father's olive grove she misses so much. She shows me how to choose the best olive oil, and tells me to visit her family's cheese factory...

I am lead to funny stores that sell ethnic ingredients. I look down at odd times to find unusual stones or feathers at my feet. In restaurants, where I have already made up my mind to order a salad and herb tea, my voice flips out before I am ready and orders me soup, or chocolate cake, or two servings of dessert. I take my coffee to a table where a person sits alone and ask if I can join them. Things I would NEVER do!

My eyes are opened to really see people's faces, their cars, their houses, what they put in their shopping trolleys. I see sunsets and kittens up trees. Neighbours fighting over the back fence. Smiles, tears, frustrations. Private moments I am priviledged enough to share a glimpse of. And then my Muse whispers, "Tell a story..."

I trawl my mind for images, inspiration, and all of the little half-forgotten moments my Muse has led me to pop into my head, and then out through my pen. She is gentle but voracious.