The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – May 18, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is May 18th, the 139th day of the year 2024, with 227 days remaining.

Knowledge is love and light and vision.

Helen Keller

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published. This seminal work of gothic fiction has not only captivated readers for over a century but has also significantly shaped the modern portrayal of vampires in literature and popular culture. Its themes of fear, love, and survival continue to resonate, influencing countless adaptations and reinterpretations.

Notable Birthdays:

Omar Khayyam, born on May 18, 1048, was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet. He is best known for his quatrains, known as the Rubaiyat, which capture the fleeting nature of life with profound philosophical insights and poetic beauty.

Today’s Readings:

From Dracula by Bram Stoker: “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On May 18th, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington, USA. This catastrophic and highly publicized event has been the subject of numerous scientific and narrative explorations, discussing its environmental, geological, and human impacts.

Poem of the Day:

“The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz:

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind,
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

This introspective poem speaks to the journey of life and personal evolution, emphasizing resilience and the acceptance of change as integral to the human experience.

Advice for Writers:

Inspired by Helen Keller’s words on knowledge, consider how your writing can illuminate, educate, and inspire your readers. Whether through fiction or non-fiction, strive to weave insights and enlightenment into your narratives, enriching the minds and hearts of your audience.

Have an insightful and illuminating day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your literary journeys bring both knowledge and light into your life and the lives of others.


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