Literary Life

In days of yore

What is yore, anyway?

Doing computer housekeeping today, cleaning out an abundance of photos, putting them on a storage desk; I need to store about 10,000 photos somewhere, because they are bogging down the iPhoto program. Not making much progress because some photos have me drifting off on a nostalgia wave. Here some of those are.

With my climbing buddy, Laura (in purple), 1992

This would have been in the spring of 1993, in Paris, with my climbing buddy, Laura, on our way down to Sintra, Portugal to scamper up a rock or two. George Whitman, who owned the place, took us up the little spiral stairs to show me where I could stay for a while, if I wanted, long as I was working on a book.

 

At the office of the Czechoslovak writers club, 1989, Prague.

At the office of the Czechoslovak writers club, 1989, Prague.

Speaking of Prague, 1989, here I am with a group of Russian soldiers, about a month before the fall of the Wall.

Speaking of Prague, 1989, here I am with a group of Russian soldiers, about a month before the fall of the Wall.

Continuing with the subject of Communists, this is in front of the empty, burned out US Embassy in Saigon, summer of 1993.

Continuing with the subject of Communists, this is in front of the empty, burned out US Embassy in Saigon, summer of 1993. My favorite shirt of all time! Got it in Bali.

Inside the tunnel complex near Cu Chi, Vietnam. 1993.

Inside the tunnel complex near Cu Chi, Vietnam. 1993.

In the imperial summer palace of the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, near Da Lat in the Central Highlands.

In the imperial summer palace of the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, near Da Lat in the Central Highlands.

Waiting for the breakfast delivery at Poppies, Bali. This cottage, which was larger than some apartments I've lived in, with breakfast included, costs about $25 a night -- in those days of yore.

Waiting for the breakfast delivery at Poppies, Bali. This cottage, which was larger than some apartments I’ve lived in, with breakfast included, costs about $25 a night — in those days of yore.

In the category of things I used to do and cannot do anymore …

Running half marathons. At this point, through Balboa Park in San Diego. 1986, I think.

Running half marathons. At this point, through Balboa Park in San Diego. 1986, I think.

Scamper up and down rock walls. This one near Pajstun, Slovakia, around 1990 or 91.

Scamper up and down rock walls. This one near Pajstun, Slovakia, around 1990 or 91.

Running a charter big game fishing boat, which I did out of Kona, Hawaii, in 1970.

Running a charter big game fishing boat, which I did out of Kona, Hawaii, in 1970. Oh, yes, I also had some pretty nice blond hair in those days.

Blue water sailing. This shot is heading out of San Diego -- Point Loma in the background. 1983.

Blue water sailing. This shot is heading out of San Diego — Point Loma in the background. 1983. The boat is a Westsail 32 staysail sloop.

I lived in Coronado, California between 1983 and 1991. I finished my second and wrote three more novels there.

I wrote four novels on this typewriter in this room in a tiny bungalow on 4th Street in Coronado, during the 80s. The beer and tequila and full ashtray helped.

I wrote four novels on this typewriter in this room in a tiny bungalow on 4th Street in Coronado, during the 80s. The beer and tequila and full ashtray helped.

Having a whisky at the end of the work day with my old friend, the novelist, Ken Kuhlken. 1984. Coronado.

Having a whisky at the end of the work day with my old friend, the novelist, Ken Kuhlken. 1984. Coronado.

My wife, Holly, has dragged me (sometimes under great duress) all around the world — literally. Most of the time I’d just as soon stay wherever I am and write — novelists often have more vivid mental lives than physical ones. But she wouldn’t hear of it, so around the world we went, and around again. I don’t even know how many countries we’ve spent some time in (not counting ones we only passed through for a few days): twenty, thirty, forty? Here are a few of my favorites. (Slovakia, which is my favorite country on the planet, is not here, because it feels more like home than a place I’ve traveled to.)

At the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, about as literary a place as one can get in that part of the world.

At the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, about as literary a place as one can get in that part of the world.

The train station, Saigon. Best food I ate in Asia was in Vietnam. And some of the most beautiful, classy women.

The train station, Saigon. Best food I ate in Asia was in Vietnam. And some of the most beautiful, classy women.

My temple outfit. In rural Bali. You had to cover your legs, so this was my ensemble. Love the color contrast. Oh, you also can't go in if you're menstruating, but that wasn't an issue for me.

My temple outfit. In rural Bali. You had to cover your legs, so this was my ensemble. Love the color contrast. Oh, you also can’t go in if you’re menstruating, but that wasn’t an issue for me.

Finally, some random pictures that induced significant waves of nostalgia.

Hussong's infamous cantina in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico. This must have been 1985 or 86.

Hussong’s infamous cantina in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico. This must have been 1985 or 86. That’s my exceptionally gorgeous wife to my right.

On the Grand Canal, Venice. I think this was 1989.

On the Grand Canal, Venice. I think this was 1989.

With Holly, overlooking Portofino, Italy. 1989.

With Holly, overlooking Portofino, Italy. 1989.

Overlooking the rocky beach at Nice, France. I forgot when. Late 80s.

Overlooking the rocky beach at Nice, France. I forgot when. Late 80s.

Sweating my ass off after a jungle hike on the windward side of Oahu. Maybe 1986 or 87.

Sweating my ass off after a jungle hike on the windward side of Oahu. Maybe 1986 or 87.

In downtown Murten, Switzerland. My wife's namesake town.

In downtown Murten, Switzerland. My wife’s namesake town.

I will be 70 years old next year, so figure I have only about another 30 or so years of life left. Where to next? What to write next? Who to meet? Only 30 more years! I need three times that. But it will be hard to compete with the last 70.

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