On Writing

The Little Church in the Big Woods

I pass by a little white church on my trip to and from work most days. It is close to a T-type intersection. The church is one of those old-fashioned kind made in the 1800s with the tall steeples and the white wooden exterior. You see them in postcards from New England all the time.

And on the side of the church is this small cemetery. There aren’t a ton of graves in it, and I suspect it was just one of those church graveyards where former parishioners were buried when they died.

But there is a story that calls to me from that little graveyard.

For years, I’ve had the pieces of a series of novels in my head. Stories about an African-American FBI agent who’s injured in the line of duty and on an enforced absence from his job. A driven, my-work-is-my-life sort of man who is going crazy from the boredom.

And into this stillness of life for him comes this woman from the past. A woman on a mission who has pinpointed this man to help her solve some long, never-solved mysteries.

It involves time travel. And a gay celibate Christian.

And somehow, now, it involves a little cemetery. A cemetery full of murder victims that only the members of a little church bothered to even give a burial to.

Every day, I pass this little church and its cemetery, and I keep thinking that the woman from the past keeps telling me that I need to tell those stories.

Maybe one day soon, I will.


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