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The ferry woman waits
aboard her  ladyslipper boat
“Please step with care
and don’t forget to bring your silver pen
for the Muse of the Island
has lost hers.”

On Dream Island where the muse
rests silent
the parrot watches over her
waiting for dawn
and the coming of the poet
but the ferry sits unused upon the further shore

She lives in the south of Africa. She has the same name as a well-known Australian artist. She’s mistaken for her, but, she says humbly, “I’m just another Robyn Gordon.” She wrote me about a month ago, another victim of insomnia. She was lying awake and got up to drift across the Internet, hoping to find something inspiring.

She found my blog. She read an entry about creativity, another about failure. Her own life has its burdens, and they seem bigger at night.

She read an entry about meaning-making and decided to give art another try. Then she wrote me. I wrote back. It was a short exchange. I didn’t want to frighten her, and after sending a few emails she didn’t answer, I thought I might have scared her off. Damn. I hate it when I do that.

Tonight, I got another email from her. She has returned to her art. Each time we leave the studio, there is the risk we will not return. It’s a decision each artist makes every day. Robyn has chosen to return to her art. Make meaning with it.  It’s a huge step. I asked if I could see her work. Sure, she said, and sent the photo here.

totem2.jpgMy life isn’t about me. It’s about connecting with other people, people I don’t know, and finding out that creativity helped them make meaning of their lives. How wonderful that the world does not have to exist without this incredible art in it. No, I had nothing to do with it. Robyn Gordon made all the decisions and did all the work. But I am so glad it was my blog she read because I got to see this wonderful art.

She’s given me permission to publish it on my blog, and I’m putting it here as well. Thank you Robyn, for your art and for showing up in the world. (c) 2007 Images, Robyn Gordon. Text, Quinn McDonald.



Darryl and I often said that our life, over the past seventeen years, had taken on the quality of being on a roller coaster. There were so many adjustments we made, changes that were necessary as we faced one crisis after another. Our trip to Europe in 2001 was the ultimate roller coaster ride. We hired a car and 45,000 kilometres and six months later arrived back in Paris. We never had one forward booking because we said that if we did not know where we were going we could not get lost.

During those last days in Paris we caught the train and visited Paris Disneyland. Over the years I had steadfastly refused to go on roller coasters and I can have panic attacks if I am so much as ten feet above the ground. I recall crying because I did not want to ride the cable car up to the famous Ice Caves in Austria but Darryl coaxed me and I am so glad that I saw that wonder of the world.

So it took Darryl totally by surprise when, like a crazed woman, I insisted we go on all the rides at Disneyworld. I was not overly impressed with the place and it was simply a matter of extracting value for money.

The ride was spectacular to say the least. Happily we were in the dark but the camera caught it all, captured so perfectly our life, our roller coaster ride.

Needless to say this photograph took pride of place on the alter in the room on the day of Darryl’s funeral.

Heather Blakey

My yen for sewing waffles with the number of yen in my piggy bank.

This particular April 16th (D+1 Income Tax Day), I was motivated.

Since a pricey, dressmaker’s form was not in reach,

an internet how-to had to do,

for making and draping my very own dummy.

(I know what you’re thinking)

Nothing more than an old sweat suit, duct tape and a few cans of aerosol, foam insulation, it seemed a snap. Here in hangs the tale….


I slipped on the sweats, sat down on the bed, extended my legs and winded the tape from ankles clear up to my thighs.

Once past the knees, I realized that standing-up with ease needed help,

so I called “please” to my husband near-by.

His facial expression as he entered the room should have certainly given me pause.

But, I had a vision and was off on a mission that good sense could not deter.

Once pulled to my feet I began to entreat ‘till he gave in and wrapped me up tight.

Butt to waist then chest and down arms, a prisoner I teetered and swayed.


Extrication came next, the directions declared by wending a line down one side to be snipped along carefully with scissors,

under one arm, down the body, and length of one leg.

Like some giant clamshell the contraption would then bend open

allowing me to be shucked out.

Well, he tried to be careful, gentle and kind, but the tape was very tightly wound, and each time the scissor points dipped to gain new purchase

they would prick my skin and I’d scream.


He pushed me back upon the bed in utter consternation, trying to redistribute the pulp from the shell, but it did nothing to quell the pain.

Inch by inch my tender flesh was pricked, and louder became my cries.

The poor man was trembling and ready to faint when at last the deed was done.

And I popped from my shell with one final yell, as he swore-off this hair-brained scheme.


Tho’ bloodied and battered, I persevered to tape the thing back whole and hollow, and squirted the foam within.

For many a day, this headless specter leered back at me

from its prop in a far dark corner.

I had lost the will to make it work and my sewing career to boot.

Then one fine day a friend would jokingly say.

“My, what a fine practice target you have.”


So now, with revenge ever so sweet, it sits outside in the woodpile,

and serves me well with a target on its chest,

or a can on its shoulders as we practice our archery skills.

Each arrow prick is a Bull’s Eye for my psyche.



[” If it’s supposed to move and it doesn’t use WD40, if it’s not supposed to move and it does, use duct tape.”
If it’s more complicated, use your Swiss army knife.

~ Anonymous]


It is strangely quiet
Here in the shadows
A solitary figure
Who to be
by what name?


Heather Blakey February 2007

My impatient muse waved farewell and sailed to her island retreat where she plays and waits for the ferry women to bring any candidates for her services. That lazy lady swings in a hammock quite unsympathetic to my distant messages, refuses to read emails, won’t answer thought waving, and, as for snail mail, refuses to give out her address. I’ll have to call in the chief ferry woman and make my way over the sea.


Gail, your piece made me think of this story I wrote a few years back about a trip from hell. We laugh about it now. I hope you all will find it amusing, or at least cautionary! karen 

It was Labor Day weekend, and we were determined to go camping.  We had three whole days, and were desperate to use them.  Ignoring everything we knew about summer camping the
Midwest, we headed two hours North to

Park in
Nebraska.  As we set up our tent in the oppressive atmosphere, we saw other intrepid souls gathered around campfires. The fires, we later realized, were to combat the hordes of mosquitoes infesting the hollow. We didn’t notice the vacant, dazed expressions–the absolute torpor of our fellow campers. We did notice that many of them were drinking rather heavily. The only sounds were the repetitive, industrial song of locusts and calls for more beer.          Excited to get on the trail, we loaded up and consulted our map.  Sketchy  and primitive, it primarily showcases the cave for which the park is named. Trails are indicated rather loosely, and locating the trailhead took several hours. We eventually found ourselves on a trail much like a maintenance road, a trough cut into the landscape with some sort of earthmover.  It was not particularly scenic, and was built recently enough that the cut sides of the trough, up to four or five feet tall in some sections of the trail, were moist and steaming, the perfect breeding ground for every type of insect and larvae. Most of the trail was a steep incline, with very little descent, and I was panting heavily in the heat.  We were later to discover that the temperature that afternoon was 102 degrees, the heat index near 110. There was no breeze, and therefore little evaporation.  I started to feel a slight headache at the base of my skull.  After several hours of silent climbing, grimly endured except for breaks for water and application of insect repellent, we emerged from the trees.            The best thing about

State Park on such a day is surely the bathhouse. We gratefully stood under the shower, cooling down a bit, and then attempted to towel ourselves dry, an exercise in futility in the 86% humidity.  We reapplied insect repellent immediately, to preserve some small amount of our blood which was being siphoned off in mass quantities. Slick with sweat and Deep Woods OFF, it was tacitly understood that there would be no romance in the tent that evening.I was still feeling somewhat sick in the head, so I took a couple of Excedrin.  We settled down around our campfire, which was hot and miserable, but slightly decreased the insects. Occasionally a breeze would pass through the campground, and we heard a collective “aah!” as people stretched their bodies up to meet it.  For a while we enjoyed ourselves in spite of the heat, stretching out to read on the ground, and cracking open a bottle of wine we brought from home.  My headache started to return, this time with a pounding intensity. I took a prescription painkiller, hoping to salvage the evening.            By dusk, the breeze had disappeared completely, leaving us to swelter, dry, in the sauna-like environment of the park.  Lethargy overcame us.  Other campers sat listlessly slapping away bugs, occasionally talking quietly.  Newcomers arrived in a flurry of activity, set up camp, and then quickly succumbed to the heat. They sat, like the rest of us, in stupefying silence.  We were comforted by the fact that we were not the only idiots out in this heat. I felt worse by the minute, and was sitting in a camp chair, face between my knees, hands dangling down by my ankles, with an ice bag on my head.  “Are you all right?” My husband asked anxiously.“Fine,” I responded faintly. “I just need to lie down for a while.”I went to the oven-like tent and enjoyed a respite from all but three mosquitoes that whined around my ears, keeping me awake.  I roasted there for a while, and when I could take no more, I went back out to the campfire.  By this time, I was in a haze of alcohol and drugs, a danger one would think I had enough sense to avoid. I stared dully into the flames, and tried to ignore my headache.Finally I went back to bed.  I lay on top of my sleeping bag, sticking to the flannel lining, sweating out alcohol and DEET, which had probably reached neurotoxic levels by this point.  I called my husband.  “I think I need to go to the hospital.” It was quite late by this time, and a few people had started to become more active, i.e, loud and drunken. A whippoorwill had been crazily screeching its refrain, over and over, just outside our tent. Obviously we were both still awake.I dressed and got in the car, turning the air conditioner on my face full force.  The temperature change was too much; my stomach started to roll. My husband ran into the ranger station and frantically searched for a ranger to provide directions to the closest emergency room.  Meanwhile, I threw up in the bushes.  Several people stared in concerned fascination.  I was unable to speak, and crawled back to the car.Mark drove as fast as he could on the bumpy back roads, my stomach heaving with every impact.  He patted me nervously while I writhed and muttered, holding my head.  We pulled over for me to be sick, and I leaned out the door.  We were in front of a farmhouse, and a pack of snarling dogs came running toward me in the dark. I screamed, barely managing to pull my head back in the car and slam the door.By the time we got to the hospital, I could neither speak nor walk, and Mark was convinced I was having a stroke.  I was wheeled into the ER, puking and mumbling incoherently.  The doctor on call eventually gave me a shot for migraine headache, and in twenty minutes, this miracle of modern science completely obliterated the pain.  I sat up in wonderment.  I was drained, but felt great otherwise.  After a severe migraine, the absence of pain is like a gift.  All is right with the world.  The temperature was still well in the upper eighties. I was dehydrated and weak. The hospital wouldn’t keep me after my miracle cure. We were sent back out into the heat of the night.  I couldn’t face the campsite again. I suddenly recalled that my parents lived about an hour away, and I called them from a parking lot. It was 2 a.m. Mom, who thought that her job as late night chauffeur had ended fifteen years ago, was less than thrilled. I think she was having a flashback to my teen years. “Are you at a bar?” she asked, over and over. Eventually, she agreed to come pick me up, and so we waited in the car. A police officer stopped to question us. We convinced him that our motives were pure, and he waited with us.  My mom arrived and took me home. I washed off the sweat and insect repellent and slept blissfully the rest of the night in clean sheets, dry and comfortable.  Mark went back to the campground to get our things, and spent the night there.  He is a much hardier specimen than I, and tolerated the evening with only a minor panic attack.  He was kept awake by some beer-drinking rednecks, but otherwise passed the night in relative comfort. He picked me up Sunday morning and we headed home.You would think that after this trip we would have given up on camping. In fact, just the opposite.  We continue to camp, learning a bit more on each trip, accumulating better gear, and surviving many disasters.  This particular trip helped us formulate a cardinal rule— thou shalt not camp in the midwest in the summertime. The heat, humidity, and insects will offset any possible enjoyment.  I also learned a hard lesson about mixing alcohol and painkillers. Admittedly, most people learn this by watching “Behind the Music,” but in my defense, the heat was a major factor, and my judgement was clouded by DEET intoxication.  Over the years, many lessons have been learned. Some concern the real cost of a cheap tent, discovered only during what New Mexicans like to call “a gully-washer;” the wisdom of canoeing on the high water that follows a major tornadic storm; what constitutes “adequate” food and water, the difference between water-resistant and water-proof—you get the picture. Through these slightly tortuous lessons, we have grown. We are now more skilled and sensible campers. We own a closet full of top-notch gear, a bookshelf full of well-thumbed outdoor guides.  Most importantly—and, might I add most critical—to our success, we locate the ER before we set up camp.

Laughing at oneself is a deep and satisfying joy: to NOT know perfection, to accept ourselves as we are anyway–a rare gift.

One of my favorite explorations is to discover the tricks our brain does for us–for good or not. Whenever I explain the blind spot in our eyes, the class of adults marvel–they’ve never heard of it.

For everyone in the Taverna tonight–put down your drinks, have a seat if you are standing, and try this:

Lift your right foot about six inches (15 cm. for the smarter, metric set) and rotate it clockwise. No hurry. Got it? Great! Now use your RIGHT hand (lefties–put that one down, use the right hand here) and draw the number Six in the air.Hah! Your foot started going anti-clockwise, didn’t it? Try it again. And again. Same all the time. That’s your brain, being stubborn. You are not nearly in as much control as you think!

Life’s sweetness is pervasive.

Our focus is essential in connecting with this zing. And gratitude –
recognition and celebration of the brilliance of the color green,
the passion of a puppy’s love,
the magnificence of a child’s laughter and
the peace within our breath.

Taste the sweetness,
savor it and then take another nibble.
You are being gifted with something precious each moment.
Be in this moment – purely and completely.
Allow the wholeness of this moment’s sensations envelop you.
There’s no mystery in finding the nectar. Simply tune into
your senses and then, like the bee, share what you’ve discovered.
Do your dance to summon others this way.

And know that this place is always available to you;
return often and experience the expanse of lusciousness.


Image Hosted by

From The Wintered Womb

Underneath the thrice ploughed, fertile, fallow field
Impregnated within a wintered, woven, womb
Of richly composted humus
I lay seeking sustenance, nourishment from
The oxygen filled wintered mist that
Drizzles, seeping, replenishing the amniotic fluids
That trickles through the membranous umbilical cord
Fertilizing, greening,
Ensuring a bountiful spring harvest.

Heather Blakey
image from Van Gogh


Digital Collage

Lori Gloyd (c) 2007

It’s that time in Australia when we always used to go camping with our kids. We’d roast sausages over a campfire, go bush walking, and watch the stars come out before all piling higgledy piggledy into the tent. Now out kids take their kids camping (our old bones just can’t take sleeping out any more) but it’s still just as much fun as ever, and they still burst out laughing when regaling us with the latest camping adventures. Years ago I wrote this little poem about family camping trips:

“Get your foot off my neck – your knee’s in my ear –
I’m trying to sleep – get that frog out of here!
Mum, Chris won’t shut up – your feet aren’t washed! –
Move over, someone, my hand’s getting squashed.”

They say they love camping, they swear that it’s true,
When the weekend comes, and there’s nothing to do.
So we pack up the kids, the dog and the tent,
And head for the lakes, where good times are spent

Sunning and swimming and just having fun –
“I’m hungry, I’m starving, are the sausages done?
I won’t use that toilet, there’s spiders and bugs –
I’d love a good cuppa, did you bring the mugs? “

The mosquitos are biting, the repellant’s at home.
Oh what is this urge that drives us to roam
Far from the comforts of bedroom and bath?
There’s only one reason – it’s such a good laugh!

Gail Kavanagh

My son has the cutest laugh.
It’s so accessible,
so readily available and contagious.
When he laughs,
he laughs until he can’t breathe!
His face turns bright red and his eyes sparkle
as if the greatest joy in the world is his.

It’s music
–echoed only vaguely by angel’s song.

Literary Bohemian

Official Lemurian Tavern

Authenticated by le Enchanteur

What is the Soul Food Cafe?

The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

Exploring Lemuria

Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, andThe Taverna di Muse is one of many places and realms within Lemuria. To see some other Lemurian destinations, select one below and start your journey:

Riversleigh Manor
Murmuring Woods
Cyberia, City of Ladies
The Hermitage
On the Road with Enchanteur
The Digital Atelier The Cave of the Ancients
Lemurian Abbey
Halloween Party, 2006
The Heroine's Journey
Aboard the Calabar Felonway
The Pythian Games
Isle of the Temple People
Isle of Ancestors
The Temple of Solace
Grand Tour
Lemurian Tour
The Gypsy Camp

Joining Soul Food

If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ .

Disclaimer– Copyright

The opinions expressed by contributors to Taverna di Muse on this blog as well as on public domains outside this blog are not to be construed as an endorsement by Heather Blakey or Lori Gloyd. Material appearing on this site remains the property of individual artists and writers.


February 2007
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