Fresh Spirit, Fresh Ideas for Fiction

Kansas Evening Sky 2013 How often do you see what some call Buttermilk skies? Traveling through the Kansas prairie, this sight amazed me. When we view new places, experience new adventures, breathe in the fresh air of a new environment, novelists are inspired to new and creative ideas. I’ve had this experience for the past few years, spending time in Sedona, Arizona in a townhouse rented in the lovely Village of Oak Creek surounded by amazing red rocks, many with names. Besides the rocks, the billions of stars and planets are in view in the black sky at night, unhindered by city lights, I’m touched by a way of life that I don’t experience at home. Though I love home and protect it with a powerhouse buglar alarm conncted to the police department, great neighbors who keep an eye on our property and a police department who checks our home numerous times in our absence, I’ve learned that our home offers us familiar coziness but also a sense of responsibility.  “I need to do this.” “I must do that.” Untold telephone calls cut into my day, music rehearsals take three of my evenings, and life can cover me like a bowl where I breathe in stale air.



View from porch Here in a Sedona suburb with Mountain time instead of Eastern Standard, I awake at 5 or 6 am and go to bed at 9 or 10 pm. (At home, I’m usually thinking sleep about 1 am) So I’m up early. I can walk out onto our deck and look at this amazing view. Left to right stands three major rock formations: Castle (you can see the turrets), bell, and courthouse rocks. I have hiked around bell and courthouse which is about 4-1/2 miles and for real hikers an easy to moderate walk.  To me, a “sit behind a computer and write many hours a day,” I thought I’d never make it. It took three hours and taught me a lesson. I can’t compete with he true hikers in my family.


View on the 9th hole But one thing I can do is golf. I’ve found it to be great exercise on the steep inclines of the course that weaves through the townhouses here. (My townhouse is between the 6th green and the 7th tee.) Walking is another good form of exercise. It’s a “huff and puff” walk for me, but I love it because it makes me healthier. Besides golfs and walks around the country club, I can sit on the deck (when I’m not writing) and edit, hand write new blog posts, or just enjoy the view. We have bird feeders out for hummingbirds, finches, etc., and they come for visits. This photo is the 9th tee. The dirt road leads down a steep hill where we are faced with two large sandtraps and the green tucked in the middle. The brush above as we tee off is another trap that loves to steal balls. But it’s all hard to resist.



Balloon over the valley. Sedona is a city filled with activity, great restaurants, all kinds of interesting shops and boutiques, the famous Pink Jeep rides, and what you see in this photo–Hot Air Balloon Rides. We enjoyed a ride here a year or so ago. It took us up on a dessert plain where we could view the surrounding mountains. We learned the history of some of the areas, many lived in by Indians many years ago, and much more. In this photo, you see only one of the three hot air balloons that followed the air current, the way they move, and ended up over our area in The Village, not too far from us. I think they landed on a golf course. Great space is needed for the landing and a place where the tracker car can get to them. It’s always an adventure.

But no matter what or where we land in life, finding new sights and experiencing new adventures can stir our imaginations, inspire us with fresh ideas, and on top of that, allow us to see more of this wonderful world. I’m inspired to write a novel set in Sedona. I have ideas. Now all I need is to find the time. Deadlines are always calling. . . and I am grateful for them.


Leave a comment
  1. chris granville January 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    What are buttermilk skies?
    Also please have a God-blessed day

  2. Gail Gaymer Martin January 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Buttermilk skies are the white bumpy clouds that you see in the photo that look like thick buttermilk spilled on a blue tabletop. The name became famous many years ago when Hoagie Carmichael sang the song – proabably wrote it too – called Buttermild Skies. It says, “I’m keeping my eyes peeled on you. What’s the good word tonight. It is gonna be cloudy or bright.” 🙂

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