It’s funny how, in talking about starting a journey, I’m unsure where to begin.
I’m writing this blog to document the process of creating my graphic novel about walking the Camino de Santiago–an ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain. The working title of my book is Camino Real. This is one of the many names for the camino– it means “the royal road”. I use the title as a pun, because my “real” experience was anything but royal.
In present form, Camino Real, consists of 15 finished sample pages and a dummy rough totaling 261 pages–and yes, I am currently looking for an agent/publisher.
While wondering about how to start writing about Camino Real, that Sound of Music song–the “doe, ray, me” one– popped into my head. I think it begins, “start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”.
So, I’m going to start with page one.
I ‘d heard of the Camino de Santiago but it was watching Luis Buñuel’s film, The Milky Way, where I discovered the camino as a place I wanted to go. The Milky Way is a surrealist film that slides its main characters between late 1960’s reality and time/mind warps, as they drift across northern Spain.
In The Milky Way, landscape of the camino beckoned to me, while the blend of history, philosophy, and religion beguiled me.
Unlike in the movie characters, I’ve never literally walked through a time warp. But my imagination fills in the gaps when I travel, helping me imagine bustling castles and neolithic rites.
I thought walking the camino, following ancient footpaths, would provide an entry into flow of history and what it was like to be a medieval pilgrim.
It turns out, that was true.
As a pilgrim, I felt that time slip: the parallel universe of then and now. There were moments when I felt downright medieval–followed by jarring 21st century contrasts.
I explore that, and more, in Camino Real.