Musings is a blog by Dorah Blume is an author of historical novels including "Botticelli's Muse". Dorah has led Juiceboxartists writing workshops for adults in greater Boston, as well as in Tuscany.
Botticelli's Muse, historical fiction, novel, Dorah Blume, creative writing, juiceboxartists
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...on writing and all things creative

Dining in the Abenaki Room

Leslie Skimmings created this Musing and the watercolor illustration after dining in the Abenaki Room of the Common Man Restaurant in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Artifacts and old sepia photographs on clay-colored walls are among all things native and tribal. On the ceiling, an inverted canoe hangs above the long banquet table reserved for parties of twelve.

Gilded frames hold soulful images, portraits of old warriors and women in ceremonial costume—a gallery of memories to remind diners of a once time-honored tribe whose ancient homeland is now the soil beneath our feet.

All authentic Americans are they, whose neighbor tribes once did hunt and haunt dreamers of a new land. Little more than their legacy is left for us to know now.

Dinner is served under watchful eyes. I look away and then meet again the young Abenaki woman who asks for an answer to a question that must have been always, “Why?” And a chieftain, sorrowful but resigned—looking still proud in his feather headdress—holds me accountable for the broken promises, the polluted rivers, and for all means of abuse of sacred land.

I find myself in need of something sweet to counter the bitterness and the shame, but no offering of Indian pudding is on the menu. So I ask for the bill, instead, and wonder how I—and all my kind—can ever pay the debt.

No answer comes. But I shall pray tonight that at another time and in another place these men and women might live in peace and travel rivers like the Penobscot, the Kennebec, and the Pemigewasset, or dwell, again, on the sheltered shores of Winnipesaukee and Squam.

Oh, that this land could be so loved again and held from harm by a band of watchful braves like “the people of the dawn.”

Leslie’s novel for middle-grade readers Discovery in Braxton Falls is due for publication in 2017. She can be reached by email at


Prompted to Tell: Scarlett O’Hara at the Pensione Seguso

This piece is by Amy Pechukas, a student at Juiceboxartists writing workshops.
The prompt was to write a piece about something you memorized in your youth.

The armchairs at the Pensione Seguso ooze dust and mold when you sit on them.  Sometimes they squish slightly.  They are made of old, brown leather and they smell like the canals that rise and fall outside the iron-grated windows of the sitting room.  Every winter the bottom floor of this hotel floods and the armchairs never seem to lose some of that water.  Even in the summer, the bottom floor of the Pensione Seguso feels and smells dank and dark like the bottom of a canal.  In the tiny wooden desk in one corner of the room, there is a guest book that goes back many years, back to the first time we came here when I was four years old.  Two of my mother’s students, Sam and Gibbs, artists, cartoonists and practical jokers, have a two-page entry from 1984 full of illustrations, one of a woman trying to eat Venetian bread and losing teeth and others that I don’t remember.  I don’t remember Sam and Gibbs exactly, but I remember the feeling of them. READ MORE


Prompted to Tell: Every Angel is Terrible


The writing prompt was a list of phrases.  Pick one and go with it.
Here are the phrases:

  1. I am still a long way from home…
  2. I’ve always hated hospitals, dentist offices, and jails.
  3. If I had not known you, I would not have found you.
  4. Every angel is terrible.
  5. Your death is a hole in the universe
  6. You were the gentle one
    I chose #4

Every angel is terrible at understanding how we earthlings worry. And we each have an angel in our bedroom closet waiting and wondering when we’ll open the door and let her out. When we’ll put her on a leash to walk through the garden of earthly delight.READ MORE

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