#Inspiration for #Writers Awaits in the #Autumn Sky.

When Bo and I asked for his relations to watch the kids so we could go on a day-date, Bo mentioned Holy Hill. “Weather’s supposed to be nice, and no youth festivals.” He eyed my camera.

Woohoo! I didn’t need those pictures of the kids on vacation anyway.


Because I had already taken several pictures of the basilica itself, I planned to save memory space for the woods surrounding it. All was gold, rich, blinding. Despite the hundreds hiking and picnicking upon the slopes, a peaceful silence remained in the air, so much so that one could listen to the leaves rattle in the breeze and dance as they fell upon the Passion Walk.



Such a set-apart place. One wouldn’t think three minutes in the car would lead to a busy highway, to golf courses and suburbs. When we build our fictional worlds, we so often must condense a universe, grind out the spaces so that things build up up up upon each other so that there’s no chance for an absence of action, let alone finding Holy Water on tap for easy access.


Passion Walk finished, we wandered past the lower chapel, read upon the history of the shrine, and—The Scenic Tower is open!


Bo waves at me to join the line. “I had my fill of that twenty years ago.”

I don’t blame him for bowing out. The tower stairs are ridiculously narrow; well, it’s not like they were built with tourists in mind, let alone so many. But the world reaches up and touches at every window. I can’t click fast enough to just, absorb. Breathe. Smile with the sun.


I don’t go up the last stair; tempting as it was, the congestion of people was driving even me into a claustrophobic fit. The plus side of going solo is that you feel no need to move as a group up and down stairs barely a foot wide.


But when I wasn’t thinking of the elderly man on the verge of losing his dentures onto the basilica roof, or the huddle of nuns (congregation of nuns? choir of nuns? pew of nuns?) with fanny packs determined to get group pictures on every landing, I was thinking about the land. The sky. How a world, even this small little bit of world, can seem so very vast with the right point of view.


Writers don’t need to create entire worlds for a story. We need only a place cradled by the horizon. Look down: there, among the trees and fields, the towns and roads, are countless hiding places where possibilities giggle and whisper in wait. Let’s count to ten.

Ready or not, here we come.

68 thoughts on “#Inspiration for #Writers Awaits in the #Autumn Sky.

      • I don’t do much on FB either, Master Steeden. Oh, things are rather nutty here, not going to lie. Nothing bad per say–Christmas time has been the most insane time of the year for as long as I can remember. But the children are healthy and trouble-free at school (which is good, as they fight like bear cubs at home), I’ve an idea for a new story, and Bo’s watching several versions of A Christmas Carol with me to find the film that best motivates Scrooges’s conversion. There’s a tree with thousands of lights, cocoa thick and hot at my side, and my computer works at last. The lack of time, though…oh, for a free day or two just to write, you know? But I’ve got to embrace the free time that comes as it comes. That doesn’t always mean writing, but it means a lifting of the spirit, and that’s what counts. xxxxx And what of you?

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      • There’s nought wrong with nutty, Ms Lee. Christmas should be insane…those who expect it a perfect thing are always let down. Nothing, I find is perfect, least of all the big things. Imperfection is much more fun I believe. Besides sproglings always enjoy this time of the year come rain or shine.
        Wasn’t there a modern take on Christmas Carol? That might be worth exploring if you haven’t already done so.
        Here we are stranger than before. Outside it is freezing cold, yet dear Shirl (with her menopause) is constantly boiling hot. I am the opposite. I have had for years a thing called Raynaud’s Syndrome. If I get the slightest bit cold my fingers first, then whole hands turn yellow and I can’t feel a thing – not even boiling water! It is thus that she sits in the lounge wearing next to nothing whereas I wear (even with the central heating pumping out) thermal vest, woolly jumpers, extra thick dressing gown etc. etc. A wide-angle snap of us both would be worth taking! Bizarre.
        Thankfully, for years we have had to reside in separate bedrooms because of our respective and unique polar opposite take on insomnia symptoms. Were it not the case that we live like King and Queen in that regard then our respective body temperatures within the same bed would give rise to fisticuffs. Humour is on our side.
        As to G, he is boiling alive in his flat at the top of the house. Heat rises; he boils and spends most of these winter months in his studio working on this and that wearing shorts and t-shirt.
        Many think us all unusual, yet we are fit, well and happy.
        Keep well and you and yours enjoy what is your most important time of the year.

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      • Modern? For sure the Bill Murray SCROOGED, that’s from the 90s, and is indeed very well done–it’s a favorite of Bo’s, and one I think we’ll be including in our talk. Disney produced a new animated one just a few years ago, and I might look at that, too.
        Goodness, you and Shirl sound a lot like Bo and I, but I’m the one that’s always cold and layered, while he’d go around in shorts every day if possible. Then there’s the boys, whom I have to force into coats because sun = hot…in December…oh wait, no it doesn’t…
        Well, at least G’s fingers shan’t go numb while he works. That was always a pain, trying to practice music in freezing cold rooms that would warp the tuned violin and piano.
        I love being unusual, and unusual friends make the best of friends. Plus they often have the best Christmas stories to share…. πŸ˜‰

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      • I hate being cold. I have one of those silly Russian hats that kills any and all panache. Over the years and taking in the observations I’ve made looking at my own children I am of the view that little kids simply don’t feel the cold. As to the modern take on A Christmas Carol I’m sure we’re missing one. I’ve searched YouTube and found nothing, yet in the back of my mind I’m hearing ‘BBC’. It must have been a BBC play. When I get it, or they put it out for Christmas on TV I’ll let you know.

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      • Thanks! Oooooooh there IS one being pushed in America, but technically it’s about Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas.
        As a Christian, I find that title…mildly annoying. But, there’s no denying the impact A Christmas Carol had on the secular approach to the holiday.
        Oh Mike, I gotta say it–when it comes to the cold, you sound just like my grandfather. He’d dress in pants and flannels all summer, while my grandmother’s sweating through all her t-shirts because the air conditioning could only just barely be on. My collection of sweaters tells me I’ve got that particular gene, too. πŸ™‚


      • I shouldn’t worry about the tags they put on Christmas so long as the intent isn’t to offend. Intent is the important thing. As an atheist – even me a non confrontational one – you wouldn’t believe the number of insults and threats I’ve had thrown at me over the years. I count a good number of Christians, Muslims and a few Hindus as friends/acquaintences. We all get along fine, we’re just different in the way we think. It always amuses me that in England the weather is generally so bad whatever the season we have ‘central heating’ whereas in the finer climes of the US you have ‘air conditioning’. I rather fancy some air conditioning! Have a fine day, Mike

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      • Ah, you’re right about the intent. There’s such a strong whiff of fear in the air, that now people are remembering times they had something bad happen to them, and are only bringing it up now. How different beliefs approach Christmas…how did my mom put it…Christmas should be about bringing people together, not driving them apart. So that’s the way to approach this. πŸ™‚ Oh, central heating is a must in Wisconsin, too! Today it will be warm enough to go without sleeves, but in a few days we’re to have a blizzard. Typical Wisconsin. πŸ™‚ xxxxxxxxxxx

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      • I got to ponder on that title, ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ and I believe what the title is getting at is simply the modern day take on traditions such as the decorated tree; the pudding; the crackers etc. Perhaps it should have been renamed ‘The Man Who Invented the Christmas Traditions’?

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  1. Definitely a choir of nuns! 😘Lovely post and photos, Jean. There’s a place like that about two hours from me β€” Columncille, I think – and there’s sacredness in the trees. 🌳

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  2. Wow, you have got some fantastic pictures here! So delighted you have made it to the Hill. Isn’t it refreshing to sneak out with your husband and have a fun day, just two of you, walking, climbing and observing the other members of public πŸ™‚ Thank you for this excursion and your narrative πŸ™‚

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  3. I actually really like Wisconsin, I feel much of the country thinks of it as a boring place but there’s so much beauty there and the people are so friendly. I’ll be sure to add this to my travel list next time I visit the state!

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  4. Stunning photos especially as it’s from a camera phone. Looks a wonderful place. For some reason it doesn’t look American. I get the case you are arguing. Leave some gaps, some parts of the world for the reader to create. Plus it’s often counterproductive. It’s like in cosmology, you can try and paint the whole cosmos and it’s origins, but years later you are still only scratching the surface and it stops you focusing on the stuff nearer stuff, the stuff that has a bigger impact.

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