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Chasing The Muse: Holding my own authority, creativity

“In the full clutch of circumstance…

“I am the master of my fate;

“I am the captain of my soul.”

— William Ernest Henley, Invictus


In writing this column and in the chase after the muse itself, friend and fellow writer Catharine Cooper and I often take vastly divergent paths. Other times the chase is more like a game of tag we play. This year has begun with the game. The idea of the chase after the muse and the game of tag has me giggling this morning even as I contemplate and reflect upon serious issues.

Our first column of the year found me writing of embracing intentions of optimism and curiosity. A week later, Catharine had been tagged as “it” and, picking up the curiosity piece, added adventure and stability. She ended with “…that which was hard — well, maybe this year, they just might become easy.” I was tagged.

My mind followed her line and then took me down many trails of thought. Words like “authority” and “responsibility” came to the fore. An author is one who originates or creates. Authority is the power to influence or command thought, opinion or behavior. Who would have the power or authority to make that which was hard easy? In my life ... only me.

Not Victorian stoicism or “stiff upper lip” stuff; just self-responsibility. “They” — whoever this might be, whether governmental entities or individuals — have only the authority or power over me that I give them. Circumstance and world events began by others may set the stage and influence our lives, but how we respond and who we are in the face of these events, these rest squarely on our own shoulders.


Rudyard Kipling wrote in his poem “If”: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same….”

To me, this is about the how and the who. It is about having character. It is about not taking anything too seriously. Laughter and joy and sweet lemonade ‘stead of sour — these are choices we can make.

With these thoughts in mind I am choosing to add to my intentions for the year. To curiosity and optimism I add the holding close of my own authority and creativity. A full plate, but, again, this is all about personal growth. If not now, when?

In spite of optimism, the year has not as yet brought about any great breakthroughs. Still, I believe that it will. Not because of some magical wishful thinking on my part, but because my actions will be directed toward that outcome. Choice will be for joy and laughter and a wealth of good things to come. I am, of course, curious as to just how this might happen though I know it will be through innovation and creativity.

The dream and the wish are mighty powerful and they need my action backing them all the way. I am the mistress of my fate and the captain of my soul.

And to paraphrase Kipling: “If you can dream — and have the authority to make dreams your master; …Yours is the Earth….”

My mind is now filled with frolicking dolphins and the swooping flight of a lone osprey on sun-drenched mornings at Crystal Cove. I stand in this space of my own authoring, this place of playful gamboling…

Tag, you’re it.


CHERRIL DOTY wishes you all that you can dream and make possible in this coming year. She can be reached by e-mail at or phone her at (714) 745-9973.