Sometimes as writers, we get so caught up in words that we often forget to ever leave our house. I remind myself from time to time that there’s a world out there that I need to experience, a world full of inspiration, the kind you can’t get if you sit at home. So, with that in mind, I ventured out yesterday and headed to Memphis, with plans of indulging in a little art and some good food, things that always inspire me.

Considering that I’ve been struggling with the rewrite of The Return of the Titans, yesterday was exactly what I needed.

I picked a beautiful fall day for my mini-trip. The weather was perfect, warmer than the past few weeks, and Memphis was showing its fall colors.

A beautiful fall day in Memphis

I started my day at the Brooks Museum, which had an incredibly interesting exhibit on animal mummies in ancient Egypt. This included cat mummies, of course, so how could I resist? I learned a lot about the ancient Egyptians, including the fact that they had animal cemeteries! And some of these animals were wrapped, mummified and placed in elaborate sarcophagi, as if they were human. In particular, one cat mummy was X-rayed, and they discovered that it was lain in its coffin similar to that of a human: on its back with its front paws crossed.

At that point, I was already taking notes in the notebook I always carry, because I was inspired. No, there’s nothing about cat mummies in the novel, but seeing these wonderfully preserved animal remains and learning more about the ancient Egyptians stirred my muse.

But then I was hungry. So I did what any self-respecting adult would do: I head wine and pancakes for lunch.


Unfortunately, my stomach was not as big as my eyes, and I could only eat about half. But the banana and pecan pancakes at Brooks’ Brushmark Restaurant were incredibly good.

But my day of artifacts and art wasn’t over. I then headed over to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens to see the Rodin exhibit there. I’ll admit, the exhibit surprised me, as I only expected a few smaller works by the sculptor. But they had some of the larger pieces, too, and the exhibit was bigger than I expected and very laid out. Well done, Dixon.

Rodin's The Three Shades

Again, I took countless notes and figured out some major issues I’ve been having with the plot of the next novel. It’s amazing how looking at other artists’ work can inspire you.

Properly inspired, though, I picked up some cupcakes from Muddy’s Bake Shop for later, and then stopped by Whole Foods for some bread, wine, summer sausage and a few snacks. I ended my time in Memphis at the Wine Market, where one of the men working there recommended a merlot called The Velvet Devil.

I got home, made myself a picnic and indulged in all of the above, probably a bit too much so. But it was the end to a perfect autumn day, a day that found me new inspiration and sent my muse into overdrive.


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