I'm typing with frozen fingers. I have the best scam on earth, though: a bad back. So when it snows--again--and again--and again--Cinderella gets out and shovels. Then I feel really bad about it, and I go relieve her, then throw out my back.

More snow. Our old pals at O'Hare have cancelled 500 flights. After cancelling 500 yesterday. And you know what happened to us with our attempted NYC flight. Someone call the conspiracy theorists! Russia and China are using their weather-control tech to isolate Chi-town so the terrorists can strike! We're trapped like rats!

Well, it looks like my publishers so far like Into the Beautiful North. I got an email that said: GREAT. (Caps theirs.) Yes! I rule! I cannot wait for you to read it. I think it's a good laugh out loud then honk into your hankie kind of book.

In a couple of weeks, I'll try to leave Illinois (Illin' Noise) to go to Idaho. What do you think? I predict a few hours in O'Hare or the Boise airport, stranded. Hope Starbucks is open.

I watch the terrible films on CNN of the tornadoes in the south. I'm remembering my own small tornado story. I was down in my family's home town, Rosario, Sinaloa. It's the basis for the hometown in Beautiful North. (I wrote a lot about it in the book, Six Kinds of Sky.) I was in my uncle's house with my girl cousins--Irma, Nancy and Melba. The elders had gone off to the wilderness for a picnic. And we were there in the crushing heat of a Sinaloan June. It wasn't prticularly stormy--though June is the rainy season. It was cloudy. Suddenly, the sky turned yellow-green. Almost orange. It was dead silent. And then the windows started exploding.

I ran upstairs with Irma as the little girls hid under the stairs. We were trying to get the windows closed. The door of the house across the street peeled off and flew into space. And slivers of glass were flying all around. One sliced open my foot. It didn't hurt all that much. Probably because I thought we were all going to die. Plus, all the blood really impressed Irma. So I got to be really macho for a minute.

After the apocalypse, the girls washed my foot and put bandages on it and cooed about what a he-man I was.

Nowadays, I don't even shovel out my own driveway. But I feel too good about my book to worry about it much.

I'm not writing anything or touring anywhere till Idaho. I don't know what to do with myself. Think I'll go work on some poems.

See you on the road this year: Idaho, New Hampshire, Texas, California, Oregon, Vermont. As Joe Ely said: The road goes on forever, The party never ends.

Except when it's snowing.

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