I am happy to report that I completed the initial draft for the new book last week. Since then, I've been revising and revising (and revising and revising), cutting it from 130,000 words down to about 100,000 before sending it off to my editor next week. After he reads it and makes his usual insightful comments, I'll go back to revising. Between sending it off and hearing from him, I'm planning a few days in New Mexico with a good novel. I'm excited about the new book, but there's still a long way to go before it reaches publishable form.
The last trip for book research took me down to Colombia, to Bogota (above) and then up to the small city of Santa Marta. It was a fantastic trip, one that--when I spent time with the indigenous Colombians trying so hard to preserve their native ground--brought me nearly to tears.
This story from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta will be the next to last chapter in the new book.
The last chapter has me in Virginia. On a rainy day I walked down the street to the local park and took off my shoes. The fallen leaves clung to my wet feet, and I lay down on the grass for a while looking up at bare tree limbs against a gray sky. I left my shoes off as I walked back to my house, until my heels got tired of hammering against the concrete. You don't realize how hard streets are until your soft bare body comes in contact.
I'll end the book in Minnesota. Here's a photo I took as I came in over the lakes earlier this fall, downtown Minneapolis in the upper left, a big moon in the upper right. I'll head up north to the cabin where Luna's buried and tell her I've had a good journey, that I've been a lot of places over the past year, and now, I'm home.