Writing the Dog
Chapter 11 - Tragedy at Chamizal Park
El Paso was chosen as a seminal location in the novel not just because it is a gateway to Mexico and a beautiful city, but because Chamizal Park offered such a powerful metaphor for all that was taking place in the novel, and which would ultimately take place in the future. The unique nature of the history of the area lent itself to the turbulence and violent upheaval that had to occur in the story.
While the story does showcase El Paso at points, it was an organic development that came naturally from the circumstances of the plot and not something that happened only because I like the town. The side-by-side cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, and the stark dichotomy that they paint, in reality, as well as in the novel, make the location uniquely suited for the tale that the Dog tells.
Residents of El Paso will no doubt recognize many familiar places and details that will be of no special significance to those that do not live there. I have always loved El Paso, since the first time I saw it as a young man, back in the days when it was still a quiet small town. I was therefore delighted to learn as I was writing the novel that the city had displaced Honolulu as the safest large city in the United States. But it also struck me as that much more incredible to read of the many murders just across the border in Juarez. Of course, in the novel, one will find how that reality helped to ignite la Nueva Revolucion Christiana, or the New Christian Revolution, and Juarez is therefore also a very important puzzle piece in the saga.
Anyone who reads the story will no doubt recognize now, and in the future, how reality often mirrors fiction.