The smallest trees are turning yellow. Our old yellow family blanket has reappeared--it smells like dogs now, and it has a few fang holes, but it's warm. Ah, Fall. Here again. My favorite season. Perhaps it's my favorite because it makes me so sad. My first real autumns were in New England, and if you've got to go from San Diego fall (brown) to another fall, go to Boston. I had never seen anything like it. The way the light slanted, the trees ignited, the air cooled, the river turned gray and choppy. I have never felt so alone in my life, or so happy. Somehow, the sorrow and the silence of that first fall fed my soul.

Now, as you know, I'm living on planes and in hotels. I couldn't have dreamed of this back in the poverty days. Well, I could have, and did. But I thought Motel 8 was way out of my league. When I first stayed in a Four Seasons, some of my degenrate friends came to the room and took pictures of the "hospitality mini-bar." Nobody could believe it.

an Francisco and DC were good trips. I got to meet Anna Quindlen, and that was great. She's very cool. As nice as any author you could hope to meet. I also met the mad mystery master David Corbett. I often tell you I'm more of a fan than an author, and that's how it was for me. In DC I did some stuff for PEN/Faulkner with Ana Menendez. At the genteel and impressive power-party, guys were whispering in my ear, "Those people are with the CIA!" etc. My life of intrigue. Everybody in the room except me apparently knew Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton. Alan Cheuse was the delightful host at the end--taking us to a wonderful late supper with vino and good talk, and I just sat there thinking, Well, I'm the guy from Clairemont High School.

Home to my fam and the dogs, the chilly (and because of this friendly) cat. Back to my classes--I love my students. And my friend Mike Poage and I have been trading poems. There's another guy knuckling down for fall and winter.

Cold, cold, cold is coming.

What I'm listening to. We mere mortals await a new Atomic Bitchwax album with fear and trembling. But until then, I have been reconnecting with my old boy-wonder prog rock interests. Listening--a lot--to the awesome new Ozric Tentacles album. And I get chills from the amazing band called The Frost. A little closer to earth, I was stoked to the max to get the new Gran Silencio cd...and I just can't stop listening to Dylan. The old man is crazy, scary and as happy as a devil. What I'm reading. Oh yes. Tom McGuane's stories are astounding and sweet. Cormac McDeath, er McCarthy, has written the end of the world, and I love it. I'm having the great delight of teaching Joan Didion, and I'm wandering through her landscapes again, wondering how they got so good. Reading poems. Not as much as when I am in full writing fever, but I read a few every day. On the mystery front, I'm in shock and awe over Greg Hurwitz--a rock star. And I'm waiting for my pal Corbett's books to get here. Is there anything better than a good mystery book on a cold fall night? Well, maybe one thing, but we've got that covered, too.

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