3:00 Sunday in the Rain

luis

I'm home.  Seems prosaic, but more and more, I just want to be here.  Not there.  That doesn't mean I am not grateful for travel and adventure, doesn't mean I don't like meeting you out there in bookstores or theaters, at colleges or libraries.  But I've been on the road on and off since 1992.  Really on the road since 2004.  I joke with pals that I am a one-man Bachman Turner Overdrive.  Need a bus.  Trying to out-do Jamie Ford as the hardest working man in lit business.  I think, though, now that I can get the senior discount at Denny's--$1.50 eggs, y'all!-- it starts to feel unseemly to keep touring and babbling into mikes like a whippersnapper.  Or maybe I just want to putter and watch garden shows on TV.

I just got home from DC.  I was in meetings, basically. You didn't miss anything. Tomorrow, I head for Arkansas. I enjoy Arkansas, and will no doubt get lots of entertaining road notes out of it. I was a little sorry I'd accepted the offer because immediately after I did, I was invited to the lit fest in Sardinia.  Gulp.

After Arkansas, it's a quick flight to El Paso--El Chuco! My home away from home. Then back here long enough to wash laundry and repack and then off to Claremont, CA.  I'll be doing a one city/one book deal out there. From CA to Washington state for a visit with readers.  The schedule is on the Calendar feature on the home page of the website. 

Then home to class before I head out again.  With Queen of America about to pop, the touring is accelerating.  (Speaking of Queen, the patient fans will be happy to know that we start recording the audiobook during the first week of October.  Yeah, my golden pipes will tatter the microphones again.)

During all of these jaunts, I try to keep notes--mostly for the blog.  My favorites are archived here under the rubric of "Wastelander." Go look--I think they're fun.  This is also the title of my new series of columns for ORION magazine.  The Wastelander.  Maybe I'll do a book....

It seems everywhere I go, if I am in what I call "Teresita mind" (that is, open and rceptive to the spirit of writing and, well, the spiri in general), good little things happen.  Odd encounters with animals.  Dragonflies and hummingbirds come around a lot.  But I have sat beside the road with a family of foxes on Mt Rainer, wandered late at night with skunks brushing my legs with cats; yesterday, my FB pals know, our Chayo was accompanied all around the neighborhood by two hawks flying about ten feet abover her head.  Weird and wonderful.  People, of course, give me story at every turn.  They give it freely, enthusiastically. They give it to us all--we just miss it by being distracted or cranky or busy or afraid.

I often just don't feel like writing notes, and I'm sorry later.

My cabbie when I got to DC was a Middle-Eastern gent.  Quite crabby.  He didn't know the address of my hotel on Dupont Circle, and I certainly didn't know it.  He stopped in the road and ordered me to go back to the trunk and find a paper with the address. This was pretty funny, being chewed out in the road by an angry cabbie in the dark.  I found it and told him and he asked me, "Which way is that?"

So, later, I tried to do my charming-man bit.  This could be a DC comic: Charmingman! I said, "Not much traffic, eh?" He said, "Not bad.  Could be bad.  Not bad.  On 14th St, very bad.  But I know how to get around traffics."  I said, "You're a master."  He said, "I have drive cab 26 years."  Wow!  I was stoked!  I said, "You must have seen it all."

He smiled.

"Do you know what I see?" he said.  "Beautiful ladies. The beautiful girls.  Just look." I looked.  He said:  "Before I was 50, it was very very good.  So good,  I love all the beautiful women.  I love them so much.  I want to smell them."  I said, "Smell them?"  He said: "Yes.  Like a beautiful flower.  You want to pick and smell, it is so pretty.  That was before 50.  After 50, not so good.  Everything's not OK after 50.  I no pluck nothing now.  Now, I just look.  From far away.  Like beautiful art."

How can you not be in love with this world? Forever, I will tell myself to pluck it and smell it.  Like beautiful flowers.

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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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