Provence Dispatch

Greetings from the South of France...okay, so I'm not in France. I'm in
frozen graysnow Chicago. But I'm thinking of the South of France. I'm
thinking about the window of our bedroom at the Auberge des Seguins (the
drawing above) and the overgrown pathways up the Roman cliffs above Buoux.
The scattered colors and chaos of the Saturday country market in Apt. The
mad Mediterranean in its shades of green and turquoise, the topless bathers of
Marseilles, and the sly octopi in the bayside crates of the fishermen,
reaching out through the slats and hissing, "Hey, Mon Ami! Let me out of

I remember the strange illuminated castlements on hilltops of the
Luberon--ancient towns and villes lit up in the dark, violet, blue, orange,
gold, red, seeming to drift above the woods and the plains like glowing
motherships, each small kingdom shining its own color. Gorde, like some hive
of angels designed by M.C. Escher, and Avignon, with its wonderful ice cream
cones and its palaces, its old walls and its hippies washing their underpants
in the ancient fountains.

After working on a novel for 20 years or so, I found a bedroom I couldn't
imagine on my own waiting for me in France. If the book is ever published,
you'll find a small Mexican room transported to Sonora from Provence, and the
low roof beams, you can rest assured, made resounding contact with my head on
several occasions. My Cinderella and I go back there often in our dreams,
and we eat the little blue quail eggs and hop the bullet train to Paris.
If this revamped website had been up and running then, I probably would
have written you a dispatch of our adventures.

But we did bring back a baby. Our madwoman Rosario, "La Chayo," now one
year old and bellowing her outrage over some slight or other in the living
room as I type this in the kitchen. Chayo seems to think she's Elvis (or, as
Pam from Bella Luna Books notes, Elton John). See what you think:

"A Hunk-A Hunk-A Burnin' Love!"

Before I put the old website to sleep for a while, about 3,000 of you a
month were checking in. I don't know who you are, but I'm gratified. Still,
lest I get too carried away with myself, I noticed that the Reformed Church
of Satan gets 1,000 hits a day!

This whole new format should be fun. Watch this space: these
"Dispatches" will change as we go along. I'll update them as we go, sort of
like a developing book I'm writing for you personally. I'll throw pictures
or drawings or travel notes or who knows what else in here when I do write.

You'll notice all kinds of other stuff accessed by the arty buttons
running down the left and right sides of the screen. You'll be able to see
all my book covers and some candid comments about each book. And you'll be
able to read new stuff--stories, essays, poems. There's bio babble and an
updated timeline (I know, I know--I let the last one die out at 1998). And
there's a sample from that big historical novel, with footnotes. Cartoons,
too. Poke around and see what you can find.

Illustration: The Hiking Path in Buoux

Be sure to sign in with the Guest Book feature.

And now I'm going to go listen to Black Sabbath's first album. ("Ohhhh
nooooo, Please God Help Me!!!!!") I might be regressing.

Ever Yrs.,

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