Friday, May 21, 2010

When reality flashes back to fiction

We live in Albuquerque, in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and an arroyo abuts our back yard. For those not familiar, in this area, it doesn't rain often, but it can rain very hard. When that happens, a bunch of water needs a place to go. Fast. Arroyos channel water and prevent flooding. Our arroyo also acts as a corridor for wildlife coming down out of the mountains. Remember, these things are dry 99.99% of the time.

The other morning I looked outside and saw a huge and beautiful coyote across the arroyo. It jumped up on a concrete block fence and gracefully and alertly paced the length. I figure it was looking for rabbits. Rabbits are abundant here and have become too fat, lazy, and cavalier for their own good. I loved watching the coyote move as it searched the area from its elevated vantage point, and somehow the experience resonated with me for days. I told a friend, and he said, "Keith, that's a scene from your novel Struck."

By gum, he was right. Change that concrete block wall to the ruins of an Anasazi kiva in Chaco Canyon, and you're in the climatic scene of Struck. No wonder the sight resonated.

The coyote returned a couple days later for a repeat performance. Even knowing part of my infatuation was that it flashed me back to my fiction, something more captivated me. For a second time, I wouldn't risk going for a camera, afraid I'd miss an experience trying to capture an image on film. I guess I'm satisfied to have captured it in words. Before I saw it.


  1. I'd love to see images posted of your arroyo etc.

  2. Wow, this is awesome. Made the hairs on my arms stand up. It means something! But what?

  3. Great story. I love watching creatures in their natural world!

    It's funny that you didn't realise it was so similar to something you'd written before!

  4. Hopefully you can see the arroyo in person next month, Cullan.

    Thanks, Joylene and India.