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Drinking wine on the Great Wall 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Here I am, home alone, and will be until I leave for London, where Francesca is now. Consider me king of the castle, emperor of the palace, champion of the citadel, lord of the manor, ruler of the land, sovereign of the surroundings, monarch of the mansion. Whatever whim I decree becomes automatic law, blood-binding commandment. Call me what you want and think what you will but there’s no doubt about it now = I’m the boss, the godfather, the chief, the dictator, the big cheese, the chest of drawers, the champ, the chair, the All and/or Everything, at least until, well, Francesca comes back.

Jimi just jumped up on her cat-like jungle-gymish thingamajig by the couch and she’s eyeing me as if she’s going to attack, as she does sometimes. In fact, while writing you now, I’ve got one eye on the computer screen and the other on her. Not that I’m afraid. Only that if she does attack, I want to win.

You may already know I often reread books, sometimes five or six or seven times. Jeez, I love to read. To read or not to read, that is my question. Why do I love to read though, I wonder. Is it escape, diversion, knowledge, wisdom? I definitely read to learn, to spiritualize in a way, and to connect with other lives, past and present, also to internalize, to disappear inside myself. Now if only I could write. And I don’t mean letters. I mean masterpieces that break like cultural tsunamis. I mean it. I’m a decent writer, I think, but I’m no nutcracker like Hesse, Dickens or Dostoyevsky. I’ve long come to peace with that fact and that’s okay. I write anyway, for catharsis, liberation, and sanity.

I used to want to publish a beautiful book, one that changed people’s lives. A children’s book, a novel, poetry, it didn’t matter. I dreamed of success, and recognition. As I near 40, publication means much less to me now. Maybe because I’m forced to face the reality of my life, or perhaps because I’m staring out the window right now and I see the sky, patches of white clouds, trees, and the beauty of what really matters. Happiness, health, everyday life, laughter… these are the things that sing me alive. I’m not saying I’ve given up on publishing, and certainly not with writing, I’m saying I prefer the root experiences, like watching fireworks explode in a Spanish sky, climbing barefoot to the peak of an active volcano in the middle of the night, drinking wine on the Great Wall and sharing it with a Chinese soldier, my wedding day.

Jimi is no longer on the gymish thing but has moved near the balcony and is staring through the see-through double-doors, wondering what’s going on out there. Of course, for all I know, she could be thinking about the first and second law of thermodynamics but I feel confident she’s marveling at the sky, patches of white clouds, trees…

Hey Shaw, do you need anything? Is there anything I can send you? Books, photographs, magazines, newspapers, socks, horse feathers, brick dust, acorns, cheese, a particular poem, a flaming candle wick, catnip, a shark’s tooth, salt, shredded wheat, corn nuts or ear plugs? Seriously, just say the word and I’ll send.

Well, I’ve finished this bottle and that’s a bummer. Now, though it’s only 4:37pm, I want to keep going. After all, I think it’s important to finish what you start. Yeah, sure, I’ve finished the bottle BUT that’s not what I mean and, well, you know what I mean.

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