A Summer Sojourn

Julie Luek (A Thought Grows  http://www.athoughtgrows.blogspot.com) and I decided to collaborate together on  blog posts that depict our distinct states (Colorado & Florida) and their sources of writing inspiration for us.  We hope that our posts, inspired by the city mouse/country mouse fable, will encourage other writers to find their own sources of writing inspiration where they live.


To sojourn is to linger a little longer in a place, a detail, a memory.

The fresh swig of tea brews outside by sunlight that warms my late grandmother’s porch in Mississippi.  A dry summer breeze spins whirligigs of red dust from Georgia’s dirt roads.  Pecan trees hover around whispering hushes inside the hollows of their trunks.  Trickles of children’s laughter line the summer skyline as they trade dances, stories, and slang like baseball cards.

The palm trees , crape myrtles, and magnolias of Northern Florida  draw a sharp contrast to the aspens and hummingbirds that thrive in the mountainous region of Colorado. Each area has its own beautiful terrain full of stories and history, a place to lose ourselves and submerge our senses into the surroundings.

We appreciate the subtle changes of one season into another—in nature, our lives, and our writing.  We sometimes tarry in a stage of our writing and our lives for the purpose of addressing what has been left behind or immobile to advance to the next level.

(Baymeadows Rd. Office Park area in South Jacksonville, FL)

(Baymeadows Rd. Office Park area in South Jacksonville, FL)

The greenery dips  in and out of the man-made  baptismal pool as the waves ripple in movement and possible stories across the office park lake. Her voice folds into the natural calm as it beckons me to become her scribe:

We dumped the bodies one at a time.  The last two were Gemini’s and Joshua’s.  The crowd moved back as I had my final moments with my child and my husband.  I swirled two scarves on them, lacing them through their arms and legs and making their hands cross over their chests and their legs cross at the ankles.  Grief rocked me just like that river there.  That ‘Sippi River would be my womb, God’s womb nursing them to glory. I cradled each one to my chest, looking at death head-on. It was like the body was just a mere suit that the soul steps out of.  God breathes life into us.  And when we die that breath returns back to him.

Her story haunts me as the summer rolls in on the impending  anticipation of the second tropical depression. It bears down on me like the humidity forming a bubble of heat around me.  She demands to be noticed.  Part of my sojourn will be staying a little longer, angling my ears like antennas and trying to pick up her signal again.

Dames Point Bridge

Dames Point Bridge

To sojourn is to cross a bridge into new territories.


(University of North Florida campus)

I need a place of solace to write.  As I drive toward the Dames Pointe Bridge, I think about how the newI-295 beltway hula hoops around Jacksonville and bypasses the areas the city wants to keep hidden like bastard children, but it highlights newly built shopping malls modeled after the St. Augustine & International Parkway (South Orlando) outlet malls.

Before the muse and I commence on this writer’s work, I stroll around the campus and found another source of inspiration (the picture above). College campuses are the breeding grounds for summertime love, and new adult romance is a genre that I have learned about through social media interaction. The romantic in me envisions a statuesque woman in her early twenties with skin smooth as black velvet and wide, dark eyes that invite the beholder to discover how the motherland and her neighborhood speak a universal language inside her, but she has no time for love.

To sojourn is revisit the familiar in order to see it in a new light.

Hart Bridge aka "The Green Monster"

Hart Bridge aka “The Green Monster”

Another bridge that I have travailed in my past, and most recently, for the past three years is another bridge that hula hoops around different stages of my life and plays a major part into my sojourn that has led to a major transformation in my mindset and self-esteem.  The Hart Bridge’s moniker aptly symbolizes its effect in my life, but my crossing of it, literally and figuratively, has minimized the terror it once held in my life. It has inspired me to share a deeply personal story in the hopes of helping someone who is tarrying across her own bridge.

I cannot wait to see what (writing) fruit this seasonal sojourn will yield.

What places do you tend to find your writing inspiration in your hometown?

12 thoughts on “A Summer Sojourn

  1. I have hopped over from Julie’s blog today. I believe we can find inspiration all around us if we look, no matter where we live in the world. I live near the sea so obviously that provides a source of inspiration, but I also like visiting woods. My latest completed manuscript features crossing a bridge to a new world.

    • Hi, Suzanne. Thank you for hopping over and commenting. I agree with you that inspiration can be found anywhere. As a teen, I always found my best stories while riding the city bus. Water is a definitely a favorite source of inspiration. Little Talbot Island State Park is my favorite beach to go for a stroll.

  2. Thank you for inviting me to collaborate with you on this. I love how you draw meaning from the bridges and stories from the tropical lushness and heat. Beautiful, Alexandra, just beautiful.

    • Thank you for the accepting the invitation, Julie. Yeah, those bridges have a lot of personal meaning for me, and they are one of the things that Jacksonville is known for. I really want to visit Colorado now. 🙂

  3. While I’ve lived in North Carolina for nearly four years, it is still my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio that inspires the settings in my stories. My first two books are set there, as are several others I’ve written that are in various stages of completion or revision. It is usually the cultural institutions (like the Cleveland Museum of Art) and eateries that make their way into each story.

    • Hometowns do tend to influence our settings. I remember a short story that I wrote during my freshman year of college. I used a local eatery and the whole class thought the story was true.

  4. Beautiful imagery of Florida, and your excerpt – so lovely in her acceptance of their passing back to God. You and Julie did a wonderful job – inspiration comes in many forms. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for commenting, Yolanda. Yes, inspiration does come in different forms. That is the beauty of being a writer. That character has been begging for me to tell her story. Hopefully, I will have it told soon.

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