Hello, It's Me
Long miles going far.

As the song used to say: "Hello, it's me...I haven't seen you for a long long time...." Are you all right? It seems like years since we last met.

I don't even know where to pick up the narrative thread. After the ghastly experience of submitting myself to the Playboy Universe (and after all the madness, which perhaps I'll tell you about one day, they dropped all the photos anyway--many thousands of dollars of effort gone like a puff of smoke--which, to tell you the truth, I'm happy about), I walked through late night NYC with a new hand-made billion dollar suit (Playboy's gift). I stayed in a billion dollar hotel--full butler service, sliced fruit on the china on my sideboard, plasma TV rising from the footboard of the bed. The next morning I dashed to La Guardia and flew to Denver, there to catch up the The Family Stone. Cindy and Eric drove through hailstorms and heat waves.

We donkey ranched with Tony and Pam for about two days, then drove over the Rockies to Aspen. Oh yes. Yess yesss. Aspen!

The high life continued thanks to the Aspen book festival--they put us up in a lovely condo for a week. The Gant. Streams and waterfalls running through the buildings. We hooked up with Denise Chavez there, and saw many friends: Patty Limerick, Bill Kittredge, Pam Houston, Christopher Merrill, Ted Conover. I was honored to hang out again with N. Scott Momaday, though he looks at me every time we meet with this friendly, yet slightly baffled expression. Met my new pal, Mr. Childs, the great outdoor writer. Broke bread with Annie Denver.

Then we bid lovely Aspen adieu (driving past the little airport there that is crammed with Lear jets and small private ariliners like Price Club here is crowded with mini-vans).

Down and across the desert wastes to Dinosaur, so the kids could look at dino-bones. Up Flaming Gorge, and into Jim Bridger's fort. And along the Oregon Trail, haunted by wagon ruts and the tails of the pioneers. To Seattle, and family, and a rented house on the water--fireworks in Puget Sound right in front of us. We met up with our pal Debra Dean and went to the Experience Music museum so I could gaze upon Hendrix flostam. Was stoked, dude, that they had a Sci Fi museum attached, and we got to look at the queen alien from the scary movies.

And then out the great Columbia River gorge--we stopped and picked cherries at an orchard. Hiked up to watch waterfalls drop. Made it all the way east to Holy Wallowa--Joseph and the lake and Fishtrap. I'm telling you again--if you want a writing miracle to happen, go to Fishtrap. Look it up on the internet. Meet you there next summer for the 20th anniversary gathering. Eric joined the song writing workshop--my God, they've grown up. Hung out with Susan Power, my great amiga.

After that, we drove to Deadwood.

Now we're here, and I'm trying to get a hundred things taken care of. Yes, I remember I told you I'd keep you involved in the Hummingbird 2 writing process. Not happening yet! It's coming (I think...I hope). Have to get ready for UIC fall semester starting, and I'm reading for a major lit award--got nearly 700 new books piled in my library. No kidding. And doing the endless promo. I'm grateful it never goes away. (Did a radio show this week for NPR.) I'll be in San Fran a LOT in the fall, in Phoenix, in Boston, in Salt Lake City, in Houston.

The audiobook--with a "Teresita Suite" of music by Shawn Phillips, should be available at any time from Little, Brown. Check the website. And the Spanish Hummingbird will be available Sep 6.

Thinking of you...all of you.
Yrs 4ever, L

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