Angel Mountain and the Edges of Heaven

Mount_Diablo_from_Quarry_Hill_in_Shell_Ridge_Open_Space26,000 words and counting.

My novel-in-progress, Angel Mountain (a.k.a Mount Diablo), involving a hermit, a Holocaust survivor, a librarian, and a geneticist, is growing daily. I’m feeding it with prayer, trust, image, and song. But mostly trust.

Each day the boundaries of the manuscript are moved farther out, stretched like an elastic with hopes they remain until further stretching.

The process of growing my novel, adding faithfully to its meadows and mountains, has been one of not knowing what comes next. There are general parameters of course, but the ending is not yet clear, and so the growth could go in many directions. I have several crises in mind, and must decide which one or all of them. In a way I am daily facing an abyss, the edge of a cliff, looking for a bridge across to another land, another chapter or scene.

The novel itself is about borders, boundaries, edges, Heaven and Earth. There are planetary edges too, horizons, curves that outline the earth or perhaps underline the heavens. Where do they merge? When, in the spectrum of colors we call light, does blue become green? These are moments of infinity, eternity.

Our preacher today spoke of grafting our souls onto Christ. We must tap into the root of the Cross in mortal time to enter immortal time, eternity. We rise to eternal life, promised by Christ, because we have already become part of Him. We cross the borders of this life and enter a new land of color, joy, and song, only because we have been already grafted into Christ Himself.

I have found that the more we graft ourselves and our souls onto Christ in this life, here and now, through Eucharist and faithfulness and love, the more we know joy here and now. In this way, eternity is now. God is now. We can have it all right now.

If we choose to.

And so my novel is about choice and about the place where Heaven meets Earth, where Earth meets Heaven. My hermit knows this and his dreams of color and music and beauty scatter through the pages, hoping to graft the reader into his visions. It is about angels and mountains. It is about faith and science and the perceived edges of each, false peripheries rapidly disappearing with each discovery in genome and cosmos. Faith supports science and science supports faith. They need not be separate realms.

It is also about freedom of speech, the use and abuse of language and rhetoric, the boundaries of civility and respect and honor. Where does civilized speech end and hate speech begin? Must language be ruled by laws or outlaws? Must speech become a weapon used by identity groups and powerful interests to maim and destroy?

I fear I have too many ideas to cram into my little story about the goings-on on Angel Mountain.

The geneticist has met the hermit and the Holocaust survivor, and the librarian will soon meet them all. There is a gigantic book collection and baptisms in a pond. There is an earthquake, a shooting, and a book-burning. There are the usual questions, such as “What is the meaning of life?” and “Who am I?” and “Why believe in God?” There is song and dance and the music of the spheres. There is, most of all, pure joy on these edges of Heaven.

So, we shall see what happens next.

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