NO APOLOGIES by Gene K. Garrison


I’m not going to start this with an apology. I’m writing a book: that explains everything, including the reason my blog has been hit-or-miss lately. I started writing my fifth book last fall and have been writing ever since — weekdays, weekends, holidays.

It’s a narrative about artists, past and present, who have lived and worked in this small town in northern Arizona, Sedona. It’s a gorgeous place with salmon-colored mountains and rock formations, striated with cream-colored bands and studded with both tall trees and short desert plants. It’s where the desert meets the mountains. In our own yard we have prickly-pear cactus plants, a Joshua trees (it’s questionable whether it is a tree or not, or if we don’t have any at all. Maybe the javelinas ate it) and various species of agave, all desert plants. Tall pines, juniper, piñon, willow, cypress, and the manzanita bushes, cats-claw and other unidentifiable growth are of the forest types.

There’s something about spirits here — vortices, invisible sources of creative energy. There are maps with directions to each one, with the exception of the ones unrecorded, those that only believers know about. They tell each other.

The number of visitors who come to Sedona rivals the number who travel to the Grand Canyon. Ask the Chamber of Commerce. It draws artists too. There are an uncommon number of sculptors here in this little community of about 11,000 people. It’s not unusual for houses to have studio space. Art galleries spring up all over the place. Before the latest recession I believe there were slightly more than 50 in existence.

My book starts in the 1930s with our first professional artists, a husband-and-wife. Of course they are not living, so that means research. What I’m finding is fascinating. They were intelligent, well-educated, adventurous people. I found a fine source of information — our historical museum. Talking around a bit I found several people who remember them, along with some anecdotes that bring out the artists’ personalities. That’s what I am going for. It’s not a sales catalog. It’s a study of a group of people drawn to a place for basically the same reason, yet they are so individualistic. I’m enjoying this even though it involves a heck of a lot of work. It bothers me a little when I keep finding people I would like to interview, but the book is growing too long. We have many outstanding, well-known artists in Sedona. I wish I could include them all.

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