Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Monument Valley Revisited

I went back to the Navajo Reservation to do some research for a follow up book to THE CHARMSTONE. I’m pleased to say that book has generated a lot of interest, and quite a few readers have asked me if there will be a sequel. So I went to Monument Valley to get back into The Rez mode, to see if anything has changed, and to meet up with my old friend, Don Mose. It was Don’s cultural preservation efforts at Monument Valley High School that inspired the work of Durango Yazzie in the book.

Only a few things have changed in Monument Valley. The tiny grocery store down the road from Goulding’s has tripled (at least!) in size and is now a modern supermarket with fully stocked shelves. What we called The Mall, a row of makeshift plywood sheds featuring splendid Navajo jewelry, pots, rugs, and baskets, has moved from the road leading to the Tribal Park to the side of Highway 163. It’s now called The Indian Market, but it will always be The Mall to me. Of course, I had to add a couple of pieces to my Southwest jewelry collection.

Had a nice chat with Don Mose. We talked a little about my new book idea. It won’t be a sequel exactly, though I will try to bring in a character or two from THE CHARMSTONE. The new story was not fully formed in my mind, but I knew I wanted to include certain plot elements and Don was able to expand on those for me. For the historical plot elements – the old Indian Boarding Schools – he referred me to Robert Johnson at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock. (Robert, I’ll be calling you soon.)

Don and I sat in the shade at the Tribal Park during their fabulous Drums of Summer celebration. There were Native American exhibits, songs and dances from various tribes, recognition of Elders, Veterans and local officials, and music. A lot of music. Two of Don’s sons, Travis and young Don, are in rock bands now. I hadn’t met them before, so I stayed to hear them play.

Imagine my surprise when I saw they looked exactly like the young Navajo rock musicians in THE CHARMSTONE! It was as if Larry and Albert Rainwater had walked right out of the pages of my book! I mentioned it to Don, and he just smiled and said sagely, “Yes, you really had a vision there, didn’t you?” I guess I did, Don. I think learned it from you.

And one more thing. Cell phone service on the Rez is close to nonexistent, at least it was for my AllTel phone, especially in the remote vicinity of the Park. But as I was walking through the lobby of the Park Tourist Center, my cell phone rang. It was my agent calling to tell me Five Star had made an offer on a second book!

I’ll blog more about that later.

1 comment:

bulldoglvr said...

Yeah on the second book! I think it is hard to get cell service on any Reservation - No one is allowed to build cell towers.