After a 20-year career writing journalism, memoir, and personal essays, I am going to dive into the mysterious world of fiction and write a novel. Specifically, in this Singular Exploration, I want to write about an American woman who travels to Mexico and becomes romantically involved with a mask-maker. The story will explore themes of identity, religion, superstition, and the difficulty we all have being truly intimate, to show our truest face. I am also interested in bank robbers, escapism of all kinds (road trips, drugs, denial), and the lingering obligations and affections we have for people we once loved. With the travel stipend, I will visit the remote ghost town Reale de Catorce, purportedly a mystical place and a religious pilgrimage site. This foray into fiction coincides with an expansion of my teaching duties into fiction writing, which I am currently teaching for the first time. The chance to study fiction up close, intensely, without distraction, will enhance my understanding of how the process of writing fiction and nonfiction intersect and diverge. At its most basic level, this New Directions grant will allow me to be a student again, a beginner confronted with a blank page, a scary but thrilling opportunity to begin anew.