A Visit from Sarabelle

Earlier this month I posted two messages (Some Pictures are Best Painted with Words, and Transition Generation) about my trip last month across western Texas along I-10. Those posts were transcriptions from pages of the yellow pad I carried along. I did little editing — they gushed forth fully formed. Following is the third and last of the inspirations I had that day:
Few outside Texas would ever think to seek creative inspiration in West Texas. I certainly wouldn't. Today, after the blessing of spring rains, this basically barren landscape is as green as it ever gets, but it still looks eerily god-forsaken.

Obviously this is not so. As I look with my heart, I see there is something ethereal and mystical about this place. Blog ideas are gushing forth at fire hose velocity. Perhaps Sarabelle, my lifestory writing muse, headquarters here. I know better than to spurn Sarabelle's offering, and I know better than to leave home without paper and pencil. Right now, if I were a poet, I'd write An Ode to Sarabelle, but alas, a poet I am not.

I'll simply honor her gifts by writing them down and urge you to do likewise when she leaves memory morsels in unexpected places. She doesn't require that you write a whole, finished story on the spot. She's happy if you simply jot a few words or a couple of sentences — enough to lock the idea in your mind.

Thank you, Sarabelle
I don't know if it was the landscape that unleashed that flow of creativity. Perhaps the low-grade fever I was running slipped my brainwaves into another gear. Whatever it was, I was grateful for this phenomenon I call Writer's Rush, the opposite of Writer's Block.

You needn't travel to west Texas or run a low-grade fever to experience Writer's Rush yourself. Spending time with other lifestory writers in a writing group, reading lists of prompts, or simply talking with friends and family about "the good old days" is generally enough to get most people spinning out story ideas. Just don't forget to jot down a few notes about each one to keep Sarabelle feeling appreciated.

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

Countdown: 60 days until the release of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing on July 1. Stay tuned for ordering details.


Tara said...

You just reminded me of my Grandmother...she use to call me Tarabelle :)

...counting down the 60 days!!!!!

Ritergal said...

Tarabelle — what a sweet name! The sound of it gives me warm tingles. Your grandmother obviously had a gift for showing her love with endearing pet names.

Somewhere in my maternal family tree lurks a Laurabelle. I think she is/was my mother's cousin. Mother's mother's family was often inspired to blend names. If I remember right, Laurabelle was named after her aunts, Laura and Belle. My grandmother, Laurene, was named after her aunt Laura and another aunt various referred to as Serena, Irene, or Rene.
Well now, we have two story threads right there: Pet names and birth names. More blog ideas.

Comments rock!

Shawn Hansen said...


You make visiting Texas sound like fun--which frightens this California girl just a bit!

What an interesting relationship you have with your muse.

Mine sneaks in and takes over, and I've found when she does, it's best I roll with her.

I can't explain it, but I'm certain my muse wishes to remain unnamed and unrecognized. (If I ignore her, she keeps working, but if I actually try to connect with her, she vanishes into a vaporous cloud.)

When mine is at work, she comes in the guise of a voice in my head that tells me what to write--literally.

If I weren't confident of my sanity, I might worry about what I hear!

Ritergal said...


Don't fear Texas. It's a great place to visit, and they do let people leave. My history with Texas goes very deep. My great-great-grandmother and great- grandmother are buried less than two miles from my daughter's house in Austin. My grandmother was born in Austin (but only lived there a few months), my mother was born in El Paso (and never lived there), and I was born in Del Rio (but lived there only nine months).

I grew up in New Mexico, considering myself a native of that state. New Mexicans, at least back then, had little use for Texans, so I hid my roots. Not until my daughter moved to Texas four years ago did I admit openly that I was born in the state. Since then I've begun to visit regularly and have come to respect and even admire the state.

Beyond Texas, I'm so happy to hear that you have a great working relationship with your muse, even if she currently chooses to remain behind curtains.

Thanks for stopping by!