back toward the local scene and away from broad-based political
Alicia's note this week, that she was departing the paper,
saddened me -- no one likes to lose a family member. While I am
thrilled that she'll have the opportunity to press upon young minds
the importance of who/what/when/where and why, and that she'll cull
more time to spend with her young children, her presence will be
It was under Alicia's tutelage that "Chasing Down the Muse" was
transformed from a simple column about the how and why of creativity,
to an expression of its manifestation. My co-columnist, Cherril, and
I asked ourselves one day, "What is it, exactly, that we are
chasing?" Certainly not the Greek goddess.
To "muse" as a verb, from the depths of a dictionary, means to
think about something in a deep and serious or dreamy and abstracted
way, or to gaze at somebody or something thoughtfully. Talk about not
being clear! How can one be both serious and dreamy at the same time?
As a noun, I find a closer definition of the "chase" in which I've
"A muse is somebody or something, which is the inspiration for an
artist." (Encarta World Dictionary) Since I began exploring this
definition, I've run rivers, climbed mountains, and kayaked azure
seas. I've visited points south, north, east and west. I've hung out
in the center of our very own village and wandered our shorelines,
canyons and ridges. I've found that the natural world, more often
than not, provides me the fodder that is my own personal muse. I'm
not much of a city girl, and that becomes more and more apparent as
the crowds fill our fair city on warm weekends, and I retreat to the
solace of my home sanctuary.
Growing up in Laguna provided a distinct point of view toward
development, and as the surrounding hillsides and valleys gave way to
sub-divisions and shopping centers parts of me cringed and felt
despair. I was gifted with a childhood of cattle roaming our ridges.
In fact, the Irvine company heifers and bulls used to lean over their
fencing and gaze into my backyard. Most of north Laguna was