Grey skies and light flurries with dangerously cold temperatures on the way. The sun sets at 5:45pm, and there’s a waning crescent moon.

I need a word for the slightly hungover sensation after a bout of clicking and scrolling. A word for shaking off the digital residue. Maybe it’s like sand: a fine grit that gets into everything: our eyes and ears, our teeth and nerves.

Meanwhile at the library, a middle-aged man is jabbering into his computer. It’s a bold move, having a full-blown conference call in the midst of students studying, readers reading, and writers brooding. He’s draped across his chair, dressed like a toddler in sweatpants and sneakers—just another person treating public life like their living room. He’s been braying about his spreadsheets for twenty minutes now. Nobody says anything. I don’t either. The last time I fancied myself the lone defender of civilization, I nearly got into a fistfight and caused more noise than I’d hoped to silence.

So I crank up my headphones and return to rewriting my novel, where a priest stands in a parking lot watching a superstore burn, and there’s madness on his face because God has just moved through the world, rearranging the lives of everyone in earshot. Except for him. God has spoken, yet he heard only silence. I’m curious to see what he will do next.

Writing about the loss of faith is so, so much easier than finding it.