This weekend, I had the dubious pleasure of reading right after Dave Eggers at the Printers Row Book Fair here in Chicago. Oh yeah, I have been feeling cocky with all my great reviews and my various best-seller list appearances. But Eggers -- holy crap. It was like a Grand Funk Railroad concert in 1971. The joint was packed with hundreds of mop-top young men -- all of whom looked like Dave Eggers -- and short-skirted young women who hoped Dave Eggers would look at them. And when Eggers left, the entire Grand Funk crowd left with him. I remember the room after they had gone chirping with crickets with a lone newspaper and a tumbleweed blowing through ... that's not true, of course. I probably had 80-100 people in there, but every once in a while you catch a glimpse of Capital F fame and it's a wierd thing to behold.

I continue to receive touching, if not heartbreaking, messages from Border Patrol agents. I have to report to you that one of the heroes of the Devil's Highway episode, BORSTAR agent Blaine Wilson, has corresponded with me lately. I was speechless today when I received a package with his own BORSTAR instructor shirt and Border Patrol patches from his own uniforms. I find this all so touching and amazing that, to be honest with you, I wouldn't trade it for the Grand Funk Railroad crowd any day of the week.

When people respond so purely to your work, it's hard to know how to reply to them. What do you do? Maybe when Cinderella and I finally escape and move to Rancho Urrea we will just have to build a couple of A-frames for our pilgrims and bake them some cookies.

Those of you keeping score will be happy to know that The Hummingbird's Daughter is complete. 815 pages. I delivered it last week to the publisher. Now, aside from striking heroic poses in Blaine Wilson's BORSTAR shirts, I don't know what to do with myself.

See you in Oregon and California in July!


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