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Suze is Hunting Muses, 2

Suze Kay is back with more ramblings

By Proud ViM ProductionsPublished 3 months ago 6 min read

Hi. My name is Suze Kay, and I’m a proud moderator of Voices in Minor, a community of Vocal authors who desire to uplift, inspire, and support one another. Every Wednesday, PViM will publish a weekly round-up of whatever lures my muses closer to my writing nook.

Last week, I began this series with my first installment. Thank you, kind readers, for your encouragement and for letting me know what resonated with you! This week was just as productive, and I'm excited to share its fruits with you below.



My major creative undertaking this week was "LaLa Land," a short story in which I revisit one of the worst weeks of my life. To put myself back in that mindset, I also revisited the playlists I made around that time. I rediscovered loads of excellent songs -- and in the process, I found deeper, more evocative meanings in their lyrics than I was consciously aware of when I first saved them on Spotify.

Principal among those was "Cigarette" by Marika Hackman. I remain a big fan of hers -- "Claude's Girl" and "Deep Green" are perennially present in my soundscape -- but "Cigarette" struck me especially deeply this time around.

When I first heard it, I liked the gentle tickle of Hackman's guitar and her mournful, gentle voice. Now, I realize it appealed so deeply to me because the relationship I was mourning (and for many years before, so caught up in) felt a lot like the lyrics. We were codependent, wrapped in a toxic cycle where we couldn't treat one another with respect but also couldn't let go of one another. And through it all, we both held a desire for peace that wouldn't come as long as we were nursing our mutual hurts. Tough, to love so deeply, and to be so bad for one another.

On to better things.


A couple of friends and I have founded a book club. Each week we read 100-200 pages of a fantasy novel and set aside an hour to FaceTime and discuss. We just finished James Islington's "The Will of the Many" and I cannot stop gushing about it. The book focuses on a whipsmart orphan, Vis, as he navigates an elite boarding school designed to prepare the children of Senators for leadership in a Roman Empire-style hierarchical system.

We were drawn to the book for the promise of a "magic school." Ultimately, that wasn't really the vibe -- it was more like "political training school." But Islington created a fabulous world, full of strange magic, strong characters, and excellent political intrigue. I was gripped through the entire read, and I want everyone I know to read it too, so I can talk about it with them.

Overall, this is the best plot I have read in years. It's well-seeded with information that becomes important (without slipping into sloggy tropes of foreshadowing). Some twists dropped my jaw, and the characters showed growth and grit. I especially loved that every piece of dialogue felt like a chess match, with each character withholding and sharing information strategically. Reading this book makes me want to be smarter with my writing, especially as I consider my fantasy trilogy languishing on the back burner.


I was seized by Vocal creator Andrei Z.'s marvelous poem "Reflections." It was given a very well-deserved Top Story, so you may have already had the pleasure of reading it. But if not, let me walk you through the poem and share what I find so remarkable about it.

The poem has a true thrum to it, in both language and meaning. Andrei holds power by frequently reversing decisions and questions. A vibrating windowpane is made boring, a familiar place can feel isolating in the same breath. His imagery is like an overflowing curio cabinet: hats in puddles, shells and pearls, architecture, red rubber boots. Every object grounds the aimless, wandering vibe of his perspective, the lonely grasp for meaning and companionship that he describes.

My favorite line has been haunting me all week: "It's eating me, it's feeding me." That's what I feel after reading this poem. That's what my creative process feels like sometimes, usually when something good is percolating in me (or undulating -- more fabulous words of Andrei's). The pull to immerse myself in a world of my making also draws me out of my own. I'll wander streets without looking at them. My tea will be chilly in its cup before I remember to take out the teabag. I'll double-book a friend and my allergist. But through the hazy daze that permeates my waking world, my thoughts and written words will be bright and punchy, more alive than anything else has ever felt. What eats at me also feeds me.

Pop Culture


When my Royals-obsessed BFF started making noise about Kate Middleton going missing, I dismissed him... and then I went down the rabbit hole myself. Along with half of the tweeting world, it seems. Now she's been seen, at least through the grubby lens of a pap, and the mystery is (mostly) over. I wish her well on her recovery from a mysterious surgery, which I'm well aware I have no rights to the personal details of.

BUT. What a wonderful set of circumstances this situation gave my mind to work with! Rumors of an ambulance being called to the family compound over Christmas. Vaguely worded press releases. A distinct lack of British tabloid attention, the likes of which have not been (not) seen since Prince William's rumored affair. A dead friend, who we are assured is most certainly not the reason for the Prince pulling out of a planned engagement. (Then what is?!) The King on his own health journey, comparatively publicized out the wazoo. And through it all, a missing Princess, presumably locked up in a drafty cottage with only stern nurses for company.

It's enough to make my conspiracy-crazed brain stir up some theories of my own. And still... who's to say that photo wasn't faked? Who's to say the blurry, sunglassed woman isn't actually Kate's sister, or a body double à la Melania? Ok, ok, I digress, even I'm going a little too far with this one.


Photo taken from the top of the ritzy new dorm

This week, I returned to my high school to present during their Career Day. I had a lovely time talking with students and old teachers about my journey to becoming a Pastry Chef, and I even got to squeeze in a little visit with my folks when the day wrapped up.

I got a pretty standard question that really made me think: Where do you want to be in five years? All I could really stammer out is that, well, five years ago, I didn't think I'd be a pastry chef, and I didn't think I'd be married, and I didn't think I'd live in New Jersey, and I also really didn't think a global pandemic would toss the world into such disarray only for it all to settle down again in mostly the way it was before, except for the enormous personal change and growth that it wrought upon me. Which is to say, who knows? I'm here for the ride.

It also struck me that eleven years ago, I was in much the same place as the kids I was talking to are now. (Minus some bells and whistles, like a ritzy new dorm and a shiny STEM center and a non-musty student hall.) I was just like them, who each look to be perfect examples of brilliant human potential, and I was so painfully insecure that I very nearly squandered myself. I want to look back at all the years I wasted doubting myself, and hating myself, and wishing for something different or better, and I almost believe they were wasted.

But then I think: if I didn't have those years, I wouldn't have this one, and this one's been pretty cool. And I like the life I have now, a lot. I avoided my five and ten year high school reunions because I was scared to face the person I was there. I worried I would feel the same way I always did while walking down the hardwood hallways, peeking into the same old classrooms -- not enough, or too much, unsettled and wanting. But the classrooms didn't even look the same, and I felt very much improved.


Randy Baker, also a member of our community, is sponsoring a delightful short story contest this month. If you have 2,000-4,000 words in you -- and the ability to choose just one focus word from his lovely list -- maybe you, too, will find some inspiration from his challenge!

I have chosen "Door," and I'm tinkering at my story tonight. The deadline is March 14th, so get those fingers typing!


Thank you, reader, for joining me in my world again this week. Check back in next Wednesday, when I’ll have a fresh harvest for you. If you’re still left wanting, why don’t you check out my profile? And if there’s something you want to share with me, drop me a comment below and let me into your world, too.

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About the Creator

Proud ViM Productions

Alone, we are letters floating in the wind. Combined, we are an Opus. We hold community in our core, "We all rise when we lift each other up"

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  • Test3 months ago

    Brilliant Suze - I love that you have book club on line! Your part about the Royals made me laugh out loud. Most Brits I think are just kind of vaguely aware of a bunch of privileged nit wits who occasionally bestow a public holiday 😁

  • I also loved that particular line from Andrei's poem! Looking forward to reading your story for Randy's challenge!

  • ROCK 3 months ago

    I caught up with a lot of information I needed; thank you. It's been a very busy week. I know nothing about the royal family however I do know that our King was related to Queen Elisabeth. Oh my! ( I live in Sweden).

  • An excellent read, lots of wonderful links

  • Randy Baker3 months ago

    Thanks so much for mentioning my challenge! Looking forward to seeing your entry. I like the idea of a Zoom-based book club! That's a great way to be flexible and be able to get participation without worrying about geographic proximity.

  • Judey Kalchik 3 months ago

    Prompts, travel blog, book review, journal: this is a delightful read. Huzzah!

  • Hayley Matto3 months ago

    This was so fun Suze!!! Those are some great song pics, def gonna listen on my commute today. Also your perspective of all the current students and all the potential they have, and talking of younger you with such kindness is so sweet. 🥺💗 Thanks for creating this and sharing!!

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