Yesterday it was in the seventies, and today the first snowflakes fell. Halfway through an ugly run, I paused beneath a highway overpass to enjoy the wonder of white material swirling in the air. Snow makes me sentimental. All the leaves are on the ground now, and the bare trees reveal new scenery, exposing windows across the street and offering new vistas when turning a familiar corner.

The story I’m writing includes a fallen priest who transforms old sitcom footage into a frightening new gospel, and I’ve been looking for a historical model to help me better understand how devotion can lead to murder. For weeks I’ve been grinding through histories of medieval Europe in search of a point of inspiration, even though I did not know what I hoped to find. The apocalyptic asceticism of Girolamo Savonarola has always captivated me, but he’s a familiar archetype, e.g., the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones. This morning I found my model in Pope Innocent III, who rewired the Gospel of Matthew to sanctify the killing of tens of thousands of fellow Christians, believing separating the wheat from the chaff would speed up the return of Christ. I hope the thing I’m writing is more fun than this. At any rate, I’m eager to inject some holy madness into the head of a fallen Las Vegas priest.