At last, the tour-mania of the last year or two has abated...because I made it stop. My last big trip for this mad season was back to Yuma. Closing the circle of death and rebirth begun by The Devil's Highway. I had a sense, when Geoff Shandler wrote me an email from Little, Brown in 2001, that life had suddenly changed. I just didn't know how much it was changing. What a one-two punch! I sit back and look upon Devil's H and Hummingbird's Daughter as a reassertion of my own soul, though I didn't know it had crawled off somewhere to fester and moan, to cry out like a jackal in the awful industrial night. Somewhere like...Chicago! I, who married the Rockies, but cheated on them with the Arizona desert and the unholy house of God, those Cajun swamps of Louisiana. Who knew? Chi-town, the Big Onion. For some kind of mystic tree-hugger (hug what you love, you constipated world-killers!), it's funny that I came to the land of bratwurst and rusty railroad bridges. Where are the shamans in Chi? They're wearing Sox and Cubs hats. But the magic is everywhere. You just have to learn the language of the angels watching over the place you've landed. (For fellow mystics, Rosicrucians, Freemasons, Revelators and conspiracy theorists, it seems odd to me that I wrote a devilishly angry book and an angelically jolly book and they had the same initials, only reversed! DH and HD. Call the atrologers and the numerologists! Call the pastor and the curandera! Call Art Bell! Something weird happened as I came back to writing life!) So, the tour ended in Yuma. I crawled home and became sick immediately. The tension holding my mind and body together over these last months of strange occurances, long travels, a million questions, vague threats, crazy people, famous people, planes, bad food, excellent food, politicians, dogs, cars, late nights, snow storms, heat waves, foreign travel, Playboy, 20,000 autographs--that tension broke and my bod threw about three tie-rods and a few bolts. I got sick at every end of myself. I was scared to go back to Yuma, since you never know what the subjects of your fire-breathing book really think of being put in that spotlight. It takes hubris to write a book like DH--you decide to speak for whole agencies like the Border Patrol, whole regions and whole peoples. Hubris always leads to the gods delivering a big slap-down. (Pride goeth before a fall, y'all.) So I went to Yuma expecting the worst. And when they told me Sheriff Ralph Ogden was coming, that ten foot tall lawman with the scariest mustache in the wild west, I figued I was dead meat. But everyone in Yuma was unbvelievably kind. Lorie, my hostess with the mostest, had me organized and humming along. The librarians were awesome. Sheriff Ogden was as nice as could be, and he and Deputy Sheriff Leon Wilmot were there in the audience so I could taunt the crazies and "patriots" who never read my book but want me to die--I told 'em the Sheriff would shoot 'em if they got out of hand! The USBP showed up in force, and we had a love-fest there, too. Interestingly, human rights activists were there, too. As was the Mexican consul. And the lone Minuteman bought two copies and had me autograph them both. We had a swell time. Is there hope? Maybe there is. My bud Kenny Smith, supervisory agent extraordinaire, had me out to his house in the desert. He and Annie his wife and their mad little terrier had a fine supper and a fun time talking and laughing. It wasn't the first time, nor will it be the last, when I thought there were mighty angels at work to bring us all together for such an unlikely reason. I'm home now, like I said. Mopping up all kinds of projects. Final grades--yeesh. Christmas preparations. Contracts--I'm signing up with a big speaker's bureau, folks. Cinderella can't keep wrestling with the myriad offers and come-ons and requests and demands. If I price myself too high for a while, the pressure will abate. Also working on a long interview with the poet, Martin Espada. And I'm writing The House of Broken Angels while cooking Hummingbird II. Everything's great. And if we're in great good luck, we'll even get a white Christmas. I'll write you a year-end review before I make some changes to this continuing blog. Chayo asked for some "Egg McNoggin" the other day. Wish I could have some with you. But receive me best thoughts and hopes for Chistmas this year. Remember what my Oglala brothers taught me: Hope is Prayer. Hey, my pizza's ready. Love 2 U 4 Ever, L

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