I spent two weeks of the time I spent writing my novel, Shaking Out the Dead, in a friend's friend's tiny house in Ojai CA. I drove there from Montana. No dog. I heard the song "I'm Like A Bird" by Nelly Furtado for the first time on the L.A. freeway. I learned how to fingerpick on the guitar during those two weeks and wrote pages and pages of the backstory of two of my characters, one a main character and the other a secondary one. I thought it would all be part of the book. I didn't include any of it. But I can still see those two characters on the side of the road in the Mojave Desert.
While in Ojai, I acquired this acrylic in the picture below. My relationship with it changed as my relationships with the characters in my book changed. It's been in storage for the past two years and I have recently pulled it back out.