Thanksgiving and Sorrow
My niece, Blanca, died last night. In this cold season of thanks and family unity, my sad niece struggled and failed. But, you tell yourself, there is peace at last. Still, in that branch of the family, of seven kids, four are now dead. So count your blessings. Count your days. And hold love close, because as imperfect as anyone in your family is, they are only here on loan. We are all going away--some of us faster and farther than others.

On to more trivial notes: Cinderalla and I attended the National Book Awards banquet in NYC. My boy, Timothy Egan, won for non-fiction. I could not believe my committee agreed on his book, which had been my favorite from the start. At the supper, we sat with Geoff Shandler, the godlike editor who shapes my work and guides me through the shoals. Tuxes. I spilled food on myself.

The touring madness is almost over. Certainly, the siege has ended. I have a Mexico trip (Guadalajara) this weekend to launch Hummingbird in Spanish. And a December trip to Yuma I'm nervous about. Perhaps the last Devil's Highway event...ever...I hope. In between, I will address the senators and congressmen etc. of Illinois for the Latino caucus. I am morphing into a politician. God help me. At least Jim Morrison had the sense to call himself "an erocitc politician." I'm a haiku politician. Maybe I can be Obama's immigration czar some day.

One thing that smacked me in the face was that we returned to Chi on Thursday, and we sped to my class at UIC. Barely made it. Feeling scorched. Feeling dizzy--literally. I'm on planes so much that sometime I feel myself moving after I have stopped. My head bobs inside like a dingy out fishing for bass. But I dragged home and collapsed. And guess what--I got up Friday and started writing my next novel. Immediately. Psychological space, even the illusion of it, opened the gates. And I thought I could not write for months to come.

Oddly, I am not yet ready for Hummingbird II. Sorry, fans. But it's the darker, more troubling novel about...all that bad stuff behind me...called House of Broken Angels. I don't know if it's good or not. I know it makes me want to cry. I know that I keep listening to Dylan's "Visions of Johanna." That's the sound of it. And I know Blanca, wherever her soul has gone, would understand exactly what I'm trying to say.

Hold love: it is always on the move.
RIP, sobrina. L

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