The Three Muses

First there were three. Each argued by fire, how the first came to be.
Air, the tallest said. Piercing all darkness, filling the void to reignite the stars. The First to hold space and water, tension and spark. The first to carry dreams into wonder.

I find the early mythology about the Muses compelling; little else acknowledges the human spirit and it’s everyday need to thrive by creative expression.  By the early mythologies, it is wholly natural to be  opened up and filled with transcendent qualities; wonder, knowledge, beauty, inspiration- starting points for all arts.  Most have heard of the seven or nine Muses, (epic poetry, history, love poetry, music, tragedy, hymms,  dance, comedy, astronomy).  These may seem archaic, but we could easily replace the terms with our own contemporary art forms. What fascinates me are the first accounts of the earliest three Muses.

“Three ancient Muses were also reported in Plutarch’s Quaestiones Conviviviales (9.I4.2-4).[5] The Roman scholar Varro relates that there are only three Muses: one who is born from the movement of water, another who makes sound by striking the air, and a third who is embodied only in the human voice. They were Melete or Practice, Mneme or Memory and Aoide or Song.”  wikipedia.

Mneme was the Muse of thought and meditation.

Melete literally means “ponder” and “contemplation” in Greek.

Aoidē means “song” or “voice”.

In my poem below, a conversation by the sea, about these first Muses. The Wordle below gave more words to use.

Three Muses

First there were three, and three men to argue by firelight, what form, what need bore them to be. 

Space,  the tallest said. Piercing all darkness, filling the void to reignite the stars, its air the first to hold all form and fluid, tension and spark. The first to carry dream into wonder.

Water, said the small one.  And the stirring, strident life that dove,
mixing water with air, a dappled swish of her tail. She who rippled the night’s delirium, crossed the threshold.  Gave Memory its motion.  Imagination traveling beyond itself to tell a story.  The first.

Nay, said the third. Seems She that swam from a nautilus shell, would be the first to pleat the sea with waves of sound. Transcend mere ears with mystery.  Carry the divine spark rippling and remembered, to the longing Soul.  Quicksilver mirror, tone on pitch, the waiting voice.  Heart spills over in song.

Tara Linda   Copyright 2011. vs. 5

Andrew Thornton Oct. Jewelry Challenge

I enjoy the surprise beads that Andrew Thornton puts together in his design Kits every month; a pre-selected set of components to create anew with.  Equally fun, is visiting the blogs of all the participants to see what amazingly unique creations people came up with using the same materials.

Unlike the first challenge I participated in where I was able to whip something up quickly, this one took longer with so much going on this last week;   Oakland’s city dramas, lots of band rehearsals for a big San Francisco concert we put on last night at the Presidio.  Whew!  Truthfully, the Muses didn’t arrive to help me finish my beady creations until this morning at around 5:30am.  😉

For this bead challenge, Andrew sent us a design kit with a ceramic bead from Keith O’Connor, a terra cotta bead from RareEarth Beads, a lampwork glass headpin from SueBeads, a gorgeous carved blue tiger’s eye round, and a luscious blue seed bead/stone/pearl blend.

Had fun making a ring, a bracelet with multi-strands of the rich luxury bead mix. And I keep making choker/necklaces that adjust from 15-17″. I’m craving owls now (Green Girl Studios).


There were also surprise mystery components including this crazy skull bead- timely for Dia de Los Muertos of course.  After giving him beady eyes and a hat w/ a crystal flower, I grounded him with blue lace agate.

Enjoy your blog hop to the other participants sites!

Tara Linda   You are Here

Dia de los Muertos: Gallery, Alter, New Jewelry

This year’s El Dia de los Muertos day and alter is about change.  There is a lot going on and we’re moving very soon.  So, it is particularly timely, purging old pics and momentos; embracing but moving on.  My goal is to simplify in the year to come, literally and figuratively; I want to toss 1/2 of all I own.  For those of you close by, we’re having a garage sale this Saturday. 😉

The alter is very simple this year too.

New jewelry inspired by the colors, smells (copal!), and tastes of the day will be posted in my Etsy shop: Physalia Designs.  I had a trunk sale here last week- so am adding inventory now.  Check back for Fall & holiday sales.

New pieces feature Gaea’s special Dia de los Muertos pendants, Anne Choi 2-sided sugar skull charms, sterling and brass with Czech crystals.

Andrew Thornton original bronze  skull charms in a tasty matte gold finish, with crystals.

These are all from one of my favorite year-round Mexican folk art gallerias for all things  and Dia de Los Muertos.  Alamo Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas~

Leonard Cohen Honors Spain- Moving Speech

Leonard Cohen’s acceptance speech. His endless grace must be the reason the Muses favor him so deeply. Though the speech is around 10 minutes long- its power and beauty are unforgettable.

“Poetry comes from a place that no one commands, that no one conquers. So I feel somewhat like a charlatan to accept an award for an activity which I do not command. In other words, if I knew where the good songs came from I would go there more often.”   Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s acceptance speech below is, as we’d expect, powerful and deeply moving. His endless grace must be the reason the Muses favor him so in both his poetry and music.  Though the speech is around 10 minutes long- its beauty and message are unforgettable and well-worth the time.   He tells here some of the inspiration behind his finding his voice in his poetry.  If that isn’t enough, he also reveals where his songs come from!  He links both  firmly to the Spanish people and culture that have enriched his path over the years.  The end moved me to tears… Exquisite beauty.  Happy to hear he will be releasing a new album next year, the first in 7 years. 😉

Dia De Los Muertos Celebration- Making Papel Picado

Celebrate making colorful papel picado for the holiday Dia de Los Muertos with this fun tutorial by etsy artist Yreina with Aymujer!.

I love October and Fall overall, for the feelings of change and transition.  Lots of that happening now…

I especially enjoy celebrating the Latin holiday Dia de los Muertos- Day of the Dead-  both as an personal day and as a community celebration.  Bay wide, our museums offer special community alter exhibits. There are concerts everywhere and parades through most cities.

To me, Dia de Los Muertos is a time to honor change- what we see and what we don’t.  It is also the time of year to honor our connection to loved ones who have blessed our lives with theirs.  I love the heightened colors and festivities of this holiday: bright abundant alters are built in homes and in galleries; marigolds bloom from stoops & gardens; people prepare special food & drink enjoyed by loved ones; and there are lots of parades and concerts.

One ritual I enjoy almost every year is going to any one of the special Mexican stores or markets to buy fresh sugar skulls, papel picado, and usually one new calaveras figurine (skeleton figure) for my alter.  These figures humorously depict a smiling skeleton hard at work or play, reminding me not to take things so seriously.  Underlying all the impermanence is the message to celebrate life at every turn.

This is also the time of year to make sugar skulls, masks, breads, and crafts.

For crafts, check out this wonderful tutorial from fellow Etsy artisan Yreina on how to make papel picado- colorful tissue banners that typically decorate alters and storefronts for nearly all festivities including this day.  I love how Yreina has designed a particular papel inspired by something her Grandpa used to say.

This is just the black and white template (useable for your own project). Check out her wonderful story and technique for making papel picado here.

As well as her Etsy store Aymujer- here.

I’ll be posting pics of my alter this week, and jewelry inspired by the playful sugar skulls and treats featured all week long.  So check back!

Curfews, Riot Gear, Angry Police-Oakland OverReacts to Occupy Protests

With the din of helicopters overhead, a 10pm curfew, and Oakland’s dubious distinction- of all the nation’s Occupy Wallstreet protests- of being the City who used an embarrassing amount of force to remove a group of campers from its downtown, there is much to be disgusted by.

I swore when starting this blog, that I would keep to topics of the creative Muses. But the only way out of the anger, is through.  (there is a poem at the bottom of it all… 😉

With the din of helicopters overhead, a 10pm curfew, and Oakland’s dubious distinction- out of all of the nation’s Occupy Wall street protests- Oakland is the one City who used an embarrassing amount of force to remove a group of campers from its town center.  Disgusting and frustrating.

Yesterday, around lunch, I went back to downtown to run errands, and had to detour several barricade zones to get close to the block where my credit union was. There were no protesters, no activity, but the police presence was around 100. (?!) A motorcycle brigade kept circling the block. I watched the officers as I approached Clay Street (near the site of the protests). How would you expect a police force to look the morning after a confrontation with a group of mostly student protesters? It was hard to believe, but they were standing about- joking, laughing and posing for pictures. I guess enjoying their 15minutes of fame in the world news. This scene filled me with rage.  Here is our police force, gloating, no doubt collecting overtime from a city on the verge of bankruptcy; the same force who paid for a 17-city back up on (= an exaggerated response) to “handle” a small crowd on 10/25. Here is the police force who cannot manage our city’s daily violence, standing around joking & posing for pictures after a night of mis-handling a peaceful protest.  Nauseating.

Watching the videos around the web, it looked like the police were actually really angry about something as they worked; it was a surprising level of anger from the police side. You could see their anger in the way they destroyed the encampment; the way they dragged tents to the street- with sleeping people in them; the way they aimed their tear gas canisters AT protesters.  Are police immune from the economic issues that affect the rest of the world?  It made me ask– Hey Oakland PD- who/what are you fighting against here?! What are you so angry about?

When I researched where politically the city of Oakland is (we just lost our Police Chief a couple of weeks ago); a possible explanation emerged.  Oakland PD is often in the news- gangs, excessive force both.  But I didn’t know how close Oakland is to being taken over by the Feds (receivership they call it). It seems they can’t convince the courts that they want to change- not even on paper.  The italicized words in this poem blow are taken from the Oakland PD’s Mission statement (and from other police city’s mission statements that helped them the night of 10/25).

Riot Gear Manifesto

Here to serve, dressed to defend, in full riot gear
What more do we need to fight an enemy, occupying the heart
of city, plaza, park- the oldest oak, play and thrive, somewhere else (“but officer-no jobs for us, a kid yells out- got laid off-) 
Here to protect against tyranny, end this rebellion,
spoiled brats, vermin, lowly nuisance, armed with rocks
so we use force enough, to provide… an environment
free of crime, defend against what we can’t control. Only tear gas,
rubber bullets before it grows beyond what the baton can tame
Across the back, future uncertain (inept mayor, no leadership …)
“no guns, no excessive force” dressed to serve, dressed to protect against fear

And here, locked arm in arm, in full regalia, keep the streets safe,
one angry head for an angry mob, lawless- all of them. But these steel-toed boots a better match for the Bitterness (“no company will hire me. What’s the point of finishing school?”). Here to protect, never yield from behind this shatter-proof shield, we’ll fight injustice for you kid- with our inept chief, pay cuts, long hours…

Here to serve against inequity, puffed up chests beneath bullet-proof vests our force soon to be taken over by the feds… We’ll show you all,
while you draw the homeless to your camps, dessicrating this place,
we’ll show you, 5:30am. Ambush in full regalia, surprise attack. Uproot rebellion.    Once and for all To Defend to protect ourselves, with our dissolving  pensions, drag your tents to the street, To serve and protect against- these impotent unions, our pensions gutted, make target practice Protect, defend ourselves,                    to slam them all free
from crime                                 explode you out with a hundred flash grenades.

Attempting to reform the Oakland PD

photo by Gerry Shih/The Bay Citizen. 3/2011

Recording the Sea~ Bat for Lashes

Place plays a huge roll in drawing and keeping the Muses close: makes sense that place should be a natural part of the recording process.

I love how singer-writer Natasha of band Bat For Lashes chronicles how she included the Big Sur waves into her recording process for “Sea and Sand.”  I’m at the place in my recording- where my producer says “hey- lots of songs about or in water here…how about the ocean?”  Yes Please.  😉

Place plays a huge roll in drawing and keeping the Muses close: makes sense that place should be a natural part of the recording process.  But, it is rare that the our producers/engineers allow such luxury  😉