Tomahawk 02/15/21

Writing is such a funny thing.

It snapped cold here. We got about a foot of snow. Temperatures around -7F (with the windchill, it felt like -27). I was at home, craving a watermelon Monster. These Zero Sugar Monsters are delicious. But I couldn’t go anywhere, because snow. My boots don’t come in the mail until tomorrow.

I woke up at 6:30am and started working on Dying World. Then I looked out the window and I thought about the weather. And wanting a Monster…there was something there. Something different.

Then I thought about this article that I’d read a long time ago:

EL RENO Okla. (Reuters) – Just over a year ago, tribal elder Gordon Yellowman watched on the TV news as a mile-wide tornado roared toward the homes of his Cheyenne-Arapaho people in Oklahoma.Tribal elder Gordon Yellowman wears his Sundance priest garb in the field behind his home, in El Reno, Oklahoma June 12, 2014. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

Sirens blared, warnings were issued and many people rushed to shelters as the weather radar warned the funnel cloud brewing would be massive and deadly.

But Yellowman and a small group of the elders huddled to perform an ancient ritual that would turn the tornado away.

“We spoke to it in our language,” he said.

After the ceremony, whose details are hidden to outsiders to protect its potency, the tornado barreling toward the Native American tribe in the red dirt state took an unexpected turn and veered away, a move not part of any computer modeling for the funnel cloud.

The El Reno tornado on May 31, 2013 was one of the widest recorded at 2.6 miles (4.2 km) and killed eight motorists – four of them so-called storm chasers. It hit just days after a tornado killed 24 people in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.

Although there is no scientific data to prove it, the rituals seem to work.

Then I thought about Tomahawk, the sequel to Black Gum and A Minor Storm. I originally had conceived of it as taking place during one game of disc golf, but I couldn’t find a way to make that structure work. It started to feel like DeLillo’s baseball game, and I got bored with it.

But it came back this morning. Controlling the weather…using a tomahawk to tame weather…the inevitability of storms…the connection to A Minor STORM.

And like that, I was tapping away at a book that I’d put on the backburner.

Dying World continues apace, between 800-1000 words per day.

Now I’m working on two books.

Writing is funny like that.

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