I’ve been recently reinvigorated in terms of writing my novel. It’s an idea that I’ve been kicking around since 2008 or so, slowly molding it into a coherent and mindful story. The plot involves a strange degenerative disease that is afflicting a small population in northern New Mexico — a disease that nearly wiped out the region two generations prior, for reasons unknown. A drifter’s car breaks down on the main road into town, and his presence stirs long-subdued forces that twist and collide over the course of five days. Through many unsettling interactions with the town’s residents, we tackle a number of grand questions about, e.g., the meaning of time, the ease with which the mind deludes itself, the difference between the past and the future, and what to do when you stab yourself on a head full of acid. It’s a thrill!
This song, by Grouper, heavily influenced the early outline work. I’ve thought about this story in cinematic terms, and her music served as a good soundtrack when I needed help in defining the narrative arc. (I used to just hit repeat on this one and let the strings and reverb and vocals guide my sense of story.)