A Year In Sedona – Meeting The Muse At Wisdom’s Edge

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Here is an exploration, as yet unended, of the possibilities of seeking the muse in the later half of life. Of course, anchoring the advice on a tentative age of fifty is, in itself, a very hopeful note.

Melanie Lee and her husband, Louis Michalski, first repeatedly visited and later moved to Sedona, Arizona, a town set among spectacular red sandstone formations. It is a place very conducive to art and to spiritual seeking. Sedona’s great wealth of talent and contemplative persons form the core of this book, and while accompanying Melanie on her questings, the reader is afforded a wide array of art, poetry, and methods for contacting the muse.

Long a blogger (“At Wisdom’s Edge”), her degrees are in languages and journalism. So this writing is clear and evocative even though she eschews the Oxford comma and does tend to run-on sentences. Once accustomed to those quirks, the work becomes stealthily immersive.

AYIS is a how-to book for the muse-seeking. Beginning with tentative perching during beginning ventures, the author and her husband sought a non-pretentious home wherein they could pursue their dreams. Finding one after months of looking, they nested solidly in their new tree.

We are drawn into and engaged by chapters that, succinctly, explore Breath as a means of pacing and concentration, Drawing for fun and inspiration, and Conscious Cookery…with recipes!! Then ayurvedic retreats, Hiking, Papermaking as meditation and mindfulness, and just for fun, Food Presentation as art. The author details making face masks reminiscent of Monarch butterflies…and planting milkweed seeds in appropriate places to bolster those migrating royals. She engaged in Group Talking, which some might refer to as chatting, but which she presents as another exploration.

In this journey the writer became a yoga instructor, and she details yoga as kaffeeklatch. She considered and ventured into Ancestor Acknowledgement and exploring one’s inner labyrinth. Detailed herein is an experience called a “Sit,” somewhat, I imagine, like the communal spirit of Quaker gatherings.

Scintillant personalities bejewel all of this writing. Visual artists, teachers, painters, sculptors, writers, poets, spiritual guides, group leaders, and retreat managers are met at every turn. The activities engaged in while seeking one’s muse could seem like a collection of kindergarten exercises…adults making face masks and fancy paper and so on? But in the tangled richness of activities lurk the seeds of mindfulness. All aspects of this expedition are evocative of creativity, of actual engagement.

Embellished but not overwhelmed with photographs, artwork, and poetry, this fine presentation is so well constructed that it may be absorbed over whatever period the reader chooses to engage with it. And if the reader finds themselves following one of the intriguing trails laid out, why, then I suspect the writer will have effectively collaborated with her muse.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Melanie Lee
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 179 pages
Publisher CreateSpace
Publish Date 2017-Aug-07
ISBN 9781547050598
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2017
Category Spirituality & Inspiration
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