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Monday, November 22, 2010

Symbiosis of Inspiration

As I drove down our winding country road this weekend, I happened to look over at one of my favorite scenes.  Our farmer neighbor, Sam, plants his corn in alternating arcs of corn and grass that follow the concave sweep of the hillside. Filling in the acres next to the field is a stand of hardwoods, carefully managed by another neighbor. It takes my breath away at various times of the year; the color, the curve, a seemingly perfect symbiosis of nature and man’s attendant touch.  As I drove past and glanced at the swaths of cornstalk remnants, I saw the hand of nature once again working in harmony with man’s pursuit. A flock of Canada geese, two hundred, maybe more, had stopped for a respite and a meal. They would clean the field of fallen kernels before continuing their flight south. On another day, when my thoughts were on doing, rather than creating, I might have seen the geese, smiled and looked at the clock on my dash. Instead, I stopped the car, got out, and sat in the field to watch, knowing that the scene will be repeated in my writing, somewhere, sometime ( maybe this is it). As I listened to the soft honks warning of my presence among them, it occurred to me how often I am inspired to write by what I see, but, also, how I am inspired to see because I write. And how, when the cycle engages itself, it is incredibly satisfying .

The idea for a new novel bloomed suddenly in my mind last week. I’m excited and grateful. It has awakened me. For months I’ve been laboring over, and worrying about, a new ending for an old novel. When I finally completed it, the relief was tremendous. I can now move on. Not only is it exciting contemplating the journey of a new story, it’s also exciting because I know that I will be seeing, hearing, feeling more intently. The whole creative process will awaken me, connect me to my world, and make me more cognizant.

Today is rainy grey, the perfect inspiration for a new first paragraph. I’m going for a walk in the woods, but not before I light the logs in the fireplace and slip a tray of slivered acorn squash into the oven. When I return, I’ll settle in front of the fire with my computer and a plate of the salty-sweet squash, and begin to create the world of a young boy named Ansel . Hopefully, I will bring to life a world as lush with color, aroma, and texture as my own world is now.  
Roasted  Slivered Acorn Squash

Use any type of squash. My favorite is acorn, however butternut also works well.
Wash the squash well, as you will eat the skin. Cut the squash in half (this is the hardest part) and scoop out the seeds.  
Lay the cut side down against a cutting surface and slice into ¾ inch pieces.
Put slices in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Then lay them side by side on a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle each piece with a little sea salt, a little brown sugar, and, if you like, a green herb such as thyme or rosemary (my favorite).
Roast at 425 for 30 to 40 minutes, until they look slightly caramelized. Slip off tray with a spatula and eat. Yum.


  1. Fran, what a truly inspiring photo and story. I think so often we rush around to get things done, we forget to stop and enjoy the beauty of life around us. Thanks for the uplifting post and the yummy recipe.

  2. You've painted such a wonderful picture, Fran. I can see the rows of corn. I can hear the geese. I hope I get to hear the story inspired by these scenes.