Thursday, 1 November 2018

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Hi people. I’m very tired and this isn’t going to be a writerly post – just an update, on my first day in the Azores.

Four months in the USA went by like a shot. I stayed with my adored friend Kelly in Asheville most of the time – and got to do some contra dancing there, yay! – but also: a night in New York City and dinner with my friend Paul, visit to Atlanta to see family on the occasion of my father’s funeral, train trip out to Arizona to pick up my car (along with some quiet time in El Paso, thanks P&B!), visit to Minnesota to see family again and two nights canoe camping in the Boundary Waters (spectacular! Thank you, Pete!), dirt bike class in Georgia, and, last, another whirlwind trip to Arizona for motorbike class and to vote early and do the bookkeeping at Reevis and visit my stuff in storage … then a drive to Kansas to store my car, two days on Amtrak to Boston, and a day in the town of beans before a red-eye flight to Ponta Delgada.

I’m knackered.

Boston: Stayed near Copley and spent the day at the Boston Public Library and wandering up Newbury and Comm Ave. I lived in Boston for nearly a year when I was 17/18. There were more bookstores then.

Commonwealth Avenue. It’s pretty.

That’s the BPL behind the red tree. Farmers market going on all day, beautiful vegs, bread, takeaway food. It didn’t rain.

And back then I hung out at the Boston Public Library lots, but I don’t think I ever noticed just how gorgeous it is:

The entrance. We love us a barrel vault.

The courtyard, obviously. I believe that’s Frishmuth in the fountain.

Murals by Edwin Austin Abbey cover the walls of the Abbey Room: “Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail.” I give you the muses.

The Bates, full of presumably seriously studious people. Really nice chairs.

Ah, the Map Room Cafe. BARREL VAULT. <3 Erudite conversations among the people who sat near me. Francine Prose was mentioned. Also: “I think we stayed up all night talking about John Cage.” Not something I would do, but cute anyhow.

Tea. Also at the BPL. Tee hee. I was just really tired and thirsty and the dining room looked so lovely and there was Ella singing and I just kind of waltzed in and there I was, and someone offered me tea and I said yes, oh yes.

I’m on the Azorean island of Santa Maria now. Till the middle of January. Am staying in town in Vila do Porto for a few days before I go out to the cottage in the country. (Population of the island is about 5,000, and half of them live in Vila do Porto.) Here’s my place for the next few days (built c. 1730 by some Scotsman):

The town house is four floors. This is just the bedroom because I’m too wrecked to get up and take photos of the rest.

Views from that window:

Oh and this is a nifty bathroom stall latch at the SMA airport. Did you know I’m into latches?

Right?

I feel like I forgot to pack certain parts of myself, it’s wonderful. But I did pack books, lots of books. These are the ones that made the cut to come to Portugal:

That’s local handwork they’re sitting on.

The main point of being here is to work on the two novels I’ve been lugging around for a long time.

I’ll also be working freelance – editing & abstracting – but very part time. Will be abstracting Fukuyama’s Identity and Timothy Snyder’s Road to Unfreedom. 

And I hope to get out for lots of walks and hikes – to the coast, the beaches, the top of Pico Alto, the other little towns. I’ll post pictures. My host has offered to lend me his electric bicycle, and there appears to be motorbike/scooter rental in town, so it seems I’ll have chances to bike, too!

Also, there’s hang gliding.

Be well, my friends. Keep in touch.

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