Posted by: Kathleen Mix | August 4, 2010

Summer Sailing as Inspiration

Summer Sailing as Inspiration

Islands, sailboats and oceans are frequent settings in my fiction. They have a mystical quality that draws me to stare at the horizon and wonder about far-away places. Their romance helps me lose myself in make-believe. 
With summer warming the mid-Atlantic states, I’m immersed in several months of day-dreaming and inspiration. After a winter spent homebound and surrounded by frosty ground and barren trees, I’m once again sailing on Chesapeake Bay. The sun warms my skin, the wind playfully tugs at my hair, the horizon stretches before me whispering: Can you guess what lies just beyond? What people? What places? What adventures?
Story ideas are hiding everywhere. Container laden ships en route to exotic ports pass my sailboat and, in a matter of minutes, shrink to specks in the distance. Cruise ships steam toward the open ocean, their smiling passengers lining the decks and bubbling with excitement.
Anchored in a secluded cove on a steamy summer night, I stare at the stars scattered over the black-velvet heavens, envisioning populated planets. Or in the darkness, with waves lapping at the boat hull, I see the loom of a distant city and let my imagination weave tales of the people living their lives: some working, some laughing, some crying, some loving, and every one dreaming.
Occasionally, luck brings me to an uninhabited island I’ve never visited before. As I approach from the sea, the air is filled with the sweet scents of flowers, earth, salt marshes and sun-baked driftwood. The swish of water against my boat’s bow is replaced by the sounds of wind rustling in trees and waves thumping on a beach.
I swim through the refreshingly cool water to the shore. My feet leave prints in the gritty sand as, skin air-drying in the heat of a ninety-degree day, I set off to beachcomb. Later, pockets bulging with treasures, I hike to a hilltop where I can look out over the green land and azure sea and imagine adventures as the ruler of my temporary domain.
Every day on the water helps a new story and character take shape in my mind. On previous sailing trips to the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Caribbean, and South America, I’ve found inspiration for my four published books, as well as my works in-progress. While some writers feed their muse with music, a day at the mall, or a half-pound of chocolate, my muse hungers to be on a boat skimming over a bay, under the water diving on a reef, or walking barefoot in powdery, pink sand on a deserted tropical isle.
Care to share the adventure this summer?  Don’t have a boat? Easy. Grab a good beach read. Even if you’re tied to the shore, you can meet new friends in the pages of a book, travel to exotic places and peer over the horizon.          

See you there, Kathleen

To read about some of my previous adventures and see a picture of my sailboat, please visit my website at


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