Wednesday, March 3, 2021

My Muse

When you establish your writing career by channelling a mule, you set yourself up for a dilemma: how to go on when the blogger outlives the mule?

If you're reading this blog, there's a solid chance you found me through Fenway Bartholomule. From 2008 to 2015 or so, he was my muse as we successfully co-authored the blog Brays of Our Lives (the archives live on at You may also know that he died unexpectedly at the age of 23, one day before my 39th birthday. 

I miss Fenway every day—the smell of his breath, the sound of his hoofsteps, the flick of his ears, the warmth of his hide. I also miss the easy flow of banter, the effortless way I guessed at what he might write if his hoofies could use a keyboard. I miss the unique perspective I was able to take when I had his voice in my ear. When I wrote Brays of Our Lives, I wasn't just pretending to be Fenway—I was picking something up and letting it flow through me. I could let it flow now if I tried, but what good is a blog from a dead mule? I'm not sure that's called for now. 

 So how does one continue when one has lost one's muse? I tried telling about life from the rabbit's point of view, but she lacked Fenway's innocence. I tried telling about life from the dog's point of view, but he lacked Fenway's dignity. I tried telling about life from my own point of view, but the human concerns were too present. This was never intended to be a blog about a writer's life, about paying the mortgage, about balancing work and family. It was intended to be a blog about scenic trails, succulent grasses, and the shiny wonderment of being present. That was part of Fenway's magic—he was absolutely unconcerned with anything past or future, and didn't forecast beyond the next flake of hay.  

I will have mules again, and until then I rest in the knowledge that Fenway's friend Arrietty is safe and adored in her long-term care lease home. I enjoy my house herbivores—two guinea pigs named Trent and Kirby—and I save for acreage of my own. My daughters, whom Fenway called the "larval humans", are grown or nearly so, and our life at Bent Barrow Farm is a memory, but the time I spent there as Fenway's "Farmwife" helped make me the person I am today. 

I still have—and love—the day job that brought me from Wickersham to Whidbey, but I sense something else welling up in me—the very strong urge to write about Fenway. I am so grateful for my years with Fenway Bartholomule, and that is a story worth telling. 


  1. Fenway was the loveliest of all mules. Thank you for sharing him with us.


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