This morning I arose, grumbling and yawning, and made my way to my desk. Outside the palm fronds stirred fitfully in the pre-dawn gloom, and Simon didn’t even untuck his muzzle from under his tail, dead to the world. After checking my Amazon sales, emails, and blog entries, I opened up an old draft of Hunting the Holy (my third attempt, and not my last), deleted the last few paragraphs where I had gone astray, and began to write.
It’s about an hour and a half later, the sky outside is chalk white and a pale luminescence suffuses my living room. Simon has yet to stir, but my mug of coffee is now four fifths empty and I’ve written some 1,500 words. Not a vast amount by my standards, but it was a steady flow, a constant drive, and the writing felt good, it felt right, on track.
I’ve got a good feeling. I’m going to get up again tomorrow and write some more, and the day after, and if all goes well, I should be finished by early November. We’ll see.
Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote this morning. First draft material, but what the hell.
Father Ximenez’s chapel was ten minutes north along the I15 and then another five off it. There was nothing out there but Joshua trees and the distant mountains of soft purple hemming in the horizon, the sun burning a white hole through the dome of the sky. The car’s thermometer put it at 112 degrees outside, and the faded gray road ever shimmered ahead of us as if it dove into a pool. Jeremy passed the drive regaling us an improbable carnal adventure he’d had in L.A. with three Norwegian women who had claimed to be sisters and oracles to boot.
Finally what looked like a shack materialized up ahead on the left, a single story building with a small steeple at the front. Jeremy pulled up next to a dusty baby blue Cadillac, the only other vehicle in the cleared space before the chapel, and killed the engine.
“Well, how’s this for a paradoxically God forsaken place,” he said, peering through the windows at the desolate desert that spread out around us. Gleaming metallic dots crawled slowly past along the I15 some three miles behind us, but everything else was otherwise silent and still.
“Actually, connecting with God in the remoteness of the desert is an ancient tradition,” said Monty, “A practice that dates back to John the Baptist, if not beyond. Father Ximenez might be cut from a similar cloth.”
“Yeah, alright, but who’d come to his services way the hell out here?” asked Jeremy.
“The Santo Perdido,” I said. “Come on, let’s get moving.”