I Hear My Train A-Comin'
A little tired. But the Illinois sun has broken through the icy sky, and the grass has appeared for the first time in months. I am back from Denver, Salt Lake and San Diego.

It seems there is real excitement out there about Into the Beautiful North. Thank you to all the librarians and independent booksellers I met: a solid hour signing for the former, and two and a half hours for the latter! My pal Jane Hamilton was on the flight with me to Salt Lake. We discovered each other in the back of the plane--same last row, across the aisle from each other. "Must be the cheapest seats on the plane," she said. We sat together at the same signing table in Salt Lake. It was a homey scene.

In Denver, the astounding Craig Johnson spoke before me. You must read his excellent mysteries. I wanted to pay my respects to him and the other authors on the stump, but you know thos elibrarians--party animals. We were swamped by our various supporters. A happy situation.

San Diego. Ah, San Diego. I spoke at Point Loma College--yo, they have the best surfing dorm in the USA! My host, Dean Nelson, was awesome. A progressive Christian in the Bono and Larry Norman mode. We were locked in ecstacies of laughter, revelation and even prohecy! Git down, Dean! You are a mad man! I know I catch flak from the snipers if I mention "famous" peeps on this blog--I am, I am often reminded, a whore--but, you know, that's who's out there. So, rock and roll fans will recall The Buffalo Springfield. Neil Young and Stephen Stills, et al. Among those pioneers was Richie Furay. I spent a cool day zooming around with Dean looking for Richie's guitar. I felt like a kid writing his first rock and roll column for an underground paper.

I won't bury you with tour-trivia (Sandy Dijkstra's unbelievable art collection, etc.) but I will say that the Point Loma event was pulsing with life. Something larger than us got in the room. Dean said, "The room was throbbing with love." Very, very, good. William Blake would have been happy--angels were burning in the corners.

Hey! Back to teaching English! But I will be coming to your town soon. I look forward to seeing the Heavenly Host with you.

Remember what Neil said with the Springfield: "Well hello, Mr. Soul, I dropped by to pick up a reason/ For the thought that I caught that my head is the event of the season/ Why in crowds just a trace of my face could seem so pleasin'/I'd cop out to the change but a stranger is putting the tease on...." Happy to be here. Happy to see sun again. Happy to write. Happy to meet you. Dude--live in Joy: it's a choice.

Mr. Soul

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