10/14/2002
October Dispatch

The loveliest season of the year is kicking in--the sky is painful and melancholy in its colors; the grasses burn greener, on their way to winter slumber. Trees on our street are already starting to go yellow. All the crows and blackbirds died of Wrst Nile Virus this summer. We have one poor blackbird survivor. He was once a member of a little corvid gang that pushed cardinals and chickadees around. (All our chickadees vanished, too.) Now, he's alone, hanging out on the back deck and flinging seed, hiding in the geranium and startling the chipmunk. How baffling it must be to him, to find himself alone in naperville, chittering and calling to nothing but blackbird silence. I'd like to go out and have a cup of coffee with him, talk about better days.

And my beloved PEN American Center program has also been hit by some financial West Nile Virus, and the funding has collapsed. I was hoping to get to the Arizona reservations, and to the Latinos of Oregon, and back to my dear friends in Harlem. But we wait, hoping the troubles pass. I'll be back.

I just got back from a bit of time spent with the Border Patrol in Yuma, AZ. I was finishing my research into THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY, my next big book. Those of you who know me can imagine how rich it must have been to have me in a truck hunting Mexicans. Ahem. But the Migra were good guys. Dare I say that? If you like cops, you'll like the Border Patrol, and if you don't like cops, you'll hate the Border Patrol. Jack-booted thugs! Or guardians of our borders. Seesh, I, I...I have mixed feelings.

But all the agents who taught me (it was like going back to school), informed me, and at times bullshitted me with rare genius, were generous and as honest as they could afford to be and not get fired. I was astounded by their world, and I hope some of that astonishment inhabits my book.

Finally, good news: SIX KINDS OF SKY is getting great reviews, and one story ("Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses") has been selected for NPR's "Selected Shorts" program. They're taping the story in January, and it will play three times in the following year(s). And NOBODY'S SON has come out in paperback. Hope you read 'em. I'm proud of both.

My wife Cinderella and I are planning to start an Urrea Newsletter. We'll be sending it out via e-mail, so if you want to be added to the list-serve, write to me at LuisUrrea@luisurrea.com. I'll get it, I think. And be sure to write in our guestbook. Some people write weird things, like "I'm horny." Some guys put adds in there for their yard-mowing service, and ecven write essays or denounce me for a fiend and oppressor of the poor. Bastards! If you want to get in touch, though, leave me your address (John French! Jim Vitkus!) Otherwise, I won't know how to find you. Punch the Guest Book button at the left of this screen.

What do you think? Monthly newsletter? Quarterly? Cool stuff, hype, lies, pix, calendars, reviews? Stuff like that? Cool letters from y'all? Cartoons? It's wide open. Talk to Cindy.

Carve your pumpkins..............................Luis


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