The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – May 26, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is May 26th, the 147th day of the year 2024, with 219 days remaining.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Anaïs Nin

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1940, the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk began during World War II. This event, known as the Dunkirk Evacuation or “Operation Dynamo,” has been depicted in numerous literary works and films, exploring themes of survival, bravery, and the human spirit under adversity.

Notable Birthdays:

Dorothea Lange, born on May 26, 1895, was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration. Lange’s photographs that capture the harsh realities of American life during that period have inspired writers and artists to explore similar themes in their work.

Today’s Readings:

From a memoir reflecting on World War II: “In the face of our common trials, we declare, not the ease or tranquility of our path, but the certitude and intensity of our spirit.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On May 26th, 1897, Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was published. This gothic horror novel has become a classic of the genre, influencing our cultural understanding of vampires and spawning countless adaptations and reinterpretations across various media.

Poem of the Day:

“Affliction” by George Herbert:

When thou didst entice to thee my heart,
I thought the service brave:
So many joys I writ down for my part,
Besides what I might have
Out of my stock of natural delights,
Augmented with thy gracious benefits.

I looked on thy furniture so fine,
And made it fine to me:
Thy glorious household-stuff did me entwine,
And ‘tice me unto thee.
Such stars I counted mine: both heav’n and earth
Paid me my wages in a world of mirth.

What pleasures could I want, whose King I served?
Where joys my fellows were.
Thus argu’d into hopes, my thoughts reserved
No place for grief or fear.
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place,
And made her youth and fierceness seek thy face.

At first thou gavest me milk and sweetnesses;
I had my wish and way:
My days were straw’d with flow’rs and happiness;
There was no month but May.
But with my years sorrow did twist and grow,
And made a party unawares for woe.

Now I, with thee, am sour’d: am spoil’d,
And ruin’d by my own.
My days are past the best; my thread is soil’d,
And burst; my hope is gone.
By sickness, age, or accident:
Now I would not again the same torment.

In this deeply introspective poem, Herbert wrestles with his spiritual afflictions and the trials of his faith, reflecting a journey from initial joy to later trials and sorrow.

Advice for Writers:

Inspired by Anaïs Nin’s thoughts on courage, consider how the challenges your characters face can serve to expand their lives and experiences. Explore how adversity can transform them, offering opportunities for growth and deeper understanding.

Have a brave and expansive day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your narratives embrace the full scope of human experience, from its trials to its triumphs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.