Is the writing life as strange as people think? Not at all. I wake pre-light to the piercing cry of the Dawn Bird, a phosphorescent creature whose species I have not yet identified, and witness its meteoric flight toward the eastern horizon. Then I check Twitter while the coffee brews.

The holy water is kept in a crystal vial, hidden inside a hollowed-out copy of The Astral Visions of St. Ignacio the Blind, a 12-century mystic who was found, upon his death, to have grown a third eyeball in the center of his heart. I add a generous splash to my coffee and gulp it hot, and once my hallucinatory seizures have subsided, I perform my ablutions outside at the well of vapors. There I must concentrate my strength against the devilkins — malignant spirits that emerge from the trees and speak to me with forked, enticing tongues. “Return to sleep,” they say. “No one cares what you write, this day or the next. Eat, be merry, and think no more of your illusory endeavors.”

I weaken their influence with ritual incantations, tug the axe from the gnarled stump, and wait for the morning’s first rays to penetrate the mist. Once the sun has warmed my flesh, I stride into the forest, catching glimpses of my fellow writers — or do I only imagine their presence in the distance? — until I find the sacred tree and cut its tenderest branch for use as the day’s scrawling implement.