Saturday, June 28, 2008
St George, Utah. Very strange things happen in small town America. In Silicon Valley I bought Cormac McCarthy's The Road. On flights from San Francisco to Los Angeles and LA to St George I finished the book - good but not as good as everybody says and I felt I had dealt with McCarthy by reading this one book. At the Holiday Inn in St George I decided eating in the hotel was a bad idea. There was a swimming pool in the lobby, making everything smell of chlorine, and a lot of noisy children. I looked up the best restaurant in town and found The Painted Pony. My problem was that I was dining alone and I had nothing to read, an impossible situation. I drove round St George looking for a book or magazine shop. I stumbled upon an interesting looking bookshop, wandered in and found myself face to face with Steve Singular, the author of When Men Become Gods. I had met him a few weeks before in San Angelo while working on the FLDS story. He was giving a reading and signing copies of his marvellous, chilling book. Now I should have known Steve would be there because he had emailed me. But I had forgotten. So what was the coincidence? That he and I were there at the same time in a nation of 300 million mobile people, obviously. But, for me, this was more astounding because I had forgotten - the moment of seeing him was one of the most bizarre of my life. I froze. In St George it is 100 degrees all the time and, beyond the city limits, there is nothing but desert for miles. Empty desert - a McCarthy landscape. A man - an Englishman at least - could go crazy. At times like this The Twilight Zone feels like the most banal realism. Steve, who knows and loves the West, shrugged - stuff happens out here. We had a few drinks and talked about great open spaces.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 3:57 am