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The universe conspires.

I write. It snows. The world fills its horizons and presses against its folds. A layer of color and sound cut and reassembled into arcs.

It snows. The pen slips. The wine pours. I watch the window and follow the lines of the hill shifting into vertical planes.

Gravity twists the rock into ‘s’ shaped spirals. The fall line is never straight. It twists, turns, reaches back, touches itself.

The greatest danger in writing – the reading. In a room, Selah Saterstrom confided in me – it was years before her family could speak to her again.

What does it mean, then, to explore your past through the art of fiction? To take and manipulate memory until it becomes something other than memory? The lines between the past and the present blur. Nothing is sacred.

And the more difficult questions: what do I take and what do I leave? What is real and what is left imagined? There is a strange friction between the stories my grandfather told me and my memory of those stories. Greater still are the legends I imagined within those spaces, the doors that his words opened, how his facts invaded my imagination, creating a strange fiction and fantasy.

This layering, like dancing, between tenses.

There are landmarks and images that build structures. Language helps to both build and navigate these structures – the architecture of lived spaces. Sometimes doors are missing; sometimes they are windows.

Sometimes it snows.

The writing stops. I slip out through the windows and sneak across the street to the hill and its lifts with my skis laid across my shoulder.

There are lines and white sheets bursting and filling the space between the air and the sky. Silence and the cut of the line, its gravitational arc twisting down then back up towards the peak. The trees and hills converge, create streaks and showers.

Then the universe conspires. “Write the damn book.” The line shifts, a binding misplaces itself, the knee bends, and keeps bending, pops. Ski patrol arrives. A crowd gathers. A sympathetic ski bum offers a PBR from his front coat pocket. A ride in the sled. A brace, a crutch, and an MRI. And then the confirmation.

Yes, says the universe. Write the damn book already.

It conspires. The lines twist back and then touch, inevitably in the present.

Yes, I will write the book, a book that has nothing to do with the snow beckoning just beyond its windows.