December 14

luis

"And God said to me, Write" -- Rilke

Snow, snow, snow, and the end of a crazy wandering year. I have been on the road all year long, meeting you everywhere. It has been divided into two definite stages: the January-through-June travels, which included the actual Hummingbird book tour. And the mad swing from August-through-now, where I did book festivals and college and neighborhood and solo bookstore appearances. In between, we bought our house and moved in.

I can't even remember all the places I have visited so far in 2005...I say "so far" because we're taking the kids to Disneyworld on Saturday. I like Disneyworld because there are no microphones and no autographs, except for Micky signing Chayo's autograph book.
But here's a partial list off the top of my head of various stops--local and distant--on the recent journeys:

Amherst
Austin
Boston
Chicago
Cicero
Connecticut somewhere in snow storms
Del Mar
Denver
Elgin
Los Angeles
Miami
Naperville
Pasadena
Phoenix
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose
Santa Fe
Seattle
St. Louis for Eric's marching band competition--go Marching Huskies!
Tucson
Washington DC
Winnetka

Places like that. A few of them two or three times. Boston was for approximately 45 minutes.

And I have been having an amazing time talking to book clubs all over the place. If you're reading the Hummingbird and want to talk with me about it, have your group send me an email and we'll set it up.

Many, many of you have written seeking Teresita cards. It has been delightful and gratifying writing to you all, and sending the cards out. I never expected so many of them to go in the mail. We have definitely provided many hundreds of cards to the vast American mulch pile. So keep on writing, and Cinderella and I will keep on sending.

I hope to have some good film news about Teresita here soon. Lots of people ask me about The Devil's Highway, and as far as I know, Rudy Joffroy begins filming that epic in February. Watch this space!

Highlights? This is starting to sound like one of those Christmas letters. But I'd say a definite highlight was having Amy Tan flog my butt with a whip at the last Rock Bottom Remainders show in Miami. It can't quite beat buying a house, though. I've never done that before. But I think I'd have to say the highest point for me this year was the long-delayed appearance of Hummingbird's Daughter. Lots and lots of blood and sweat went into that, as most of you know. Lots of tears. Ghosts. Fear. Travel. And, fortunately, laughter.

I also got to hang with and/or meet a whole bunch of writers this year. You must know that most of the writers I know and love started out as--and remain--fans. So sneaking into the Writer's Club and getting to enter the treehouse is more fun than good reviews and healthy sales. I got to see so many old friends and new out there in Wide America, and here are some of them in alphabetical order: Dave Barry; Peter S Beagle; Chuck Bowden; Octavia Butler; May-lee Chai; Sandra Cisneros and I hooked back up in Austin; my compadre John Connolly came over from Ireland; John Crowley; Alicia Gaspar de Alba; John Dunning in Denver; Richard Paul Evans; Jonathan Franzen; K Gibbons; Dana Gioia; Myla Goldberg; my eternal honey Kathi Goldmark at various blessed stops; Kent Haruf in Salt Lake City; Greg Iles; Demetria Martinez; homeboy Ruben Martinez; Reginald McKnight; Manuel Munoz; Kent Meyers via email; Joyce Carol Oates; the luminous Edna O'Brien; Dan Olivas; Susan Power; Marilynne Robinson; Leon Rooke; Mark Spragg; Ilan Stavans; Virgil Suarez gave me a cigar; Amy Tan; Scott Turow...well, you get the picture. What a delight it is to simply eat a sandwich with your co-workers. Or to watch Franzen make impossible wadded-trash waste-bin baskets from across the room.

Perhaps my students at UIC will understand how hard it is to come back every week and focus on English and Creative Writing duties.

Ahead: more travel! I'll be teaching at Fishtrap in Oregon this summer. Get on out there if you wants writing miracles to happen. Because Fishtrap is the place for miracles.

Oh yeah, and I start on the Hummingbird sequel...and another book as well. Little,Brown is keeping me busy.

Finally, watch for foreign editions of the novel. That's something I've never had before. French, German, Spanish (2 different versions), Hebrew and Turkish. So far.

Thank you for reading. I'll keep writing.

See ya in '06.
Luis

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Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

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