Places and Travel

Then we went to San Miguel & Guanajuato

San Miguel and laundry

San Miguel and laundry

Last week we traveled by bus (a rather luxurious one at that) from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende, about four hours, the “we” being Holly and me and our long-time foreign service friend Dick, who is presently posted in Washington. We stayed three days, then bused over hill and dale to Guanajuato; both towns are world heritage sites. It was our second time in San Miguel; previously we were there in February and it was really, really cold. This time is was really, really rainy, but not cold. We also visited with another old friend, the writer Sandra Cisneros (House on Mango Street, et. al.), who has been living in San Miguel the past year or so. Sandra and I were both at Iowa, but a year apart, and quite a long time ago.

Photos will be blown up full-size by clicking on them.

Holly on the patio of our room at the B&B Casa Calderoni -- where all the rooms are named after painters. We had the Gauguin room.

Holly on the patio of our room at the B&B Casa Calderoni — where all the rooms are named after painters. We had the Gauguin room.

and had a fine Italian supper with Sandra, and a great view. See next.

and had a fine Italian supper with Sandra, and a great view. See next.

 

the view from our table

the view from our table

This must be the house where Jesus lived when he was 17.

This must be the house where Jesus lived when he was 17.

Dick & Holly on the bus, one of the rare moments they weren't both doing the Blackberry tango.

Dick & Holly on the bus, one of the rare moments they weren’t both doing the Blackberry tango.

View looking down onto the center of Guanajuato. That cheese wedge patch of green in the center is the Zocalo, or El Jardin, the tiniest promenade I've ever seen, and the most European.

View looking down onto the center of Guanajuato. That cheese wedge patch of green in the center is the Zocalo, or El Jardin, the tiniest promenade I’ve ever seen, and the most European.

Dick and Holly at the overlook.

Dick and Holly at the overlook.

A hot game of dominoes.

A hot game of dominoes.

This worker's partner, who had just walked away carrying two of these stones on his back, with a cigarette dangling from his lips, was probably near 70 years old. I am near 70 years old and couldn't even lift one of these stones an inch off the ground. A tale of two lives.

This worker’s partner, who had just walked away carrying two of these stones on his back, with a cigarette dangling from his lips, was probably near 70 years old. I am near 70 years old and couldn’t even lift one of these stones an inch off the ground. A tale of two lives.

Laundry day in Guanajuato

Laundry day in Guanajuato

Another overview of the center of Guanajuato, using a camera app that imitates film from the Sixties.

Another overview of the center of Guanajuato, using a camera app that imitates film from the Sixties, the way pictures are supposed to look.

This was the last holiday trip we will take while living in Mexico City. We leave at the end of July; first a month of home leave in Boulder, Colorado, then two months of this and that in Washington, before continuing to our next post — Rome. We should be there toward the end of October.

My plan (and hope) was to finish the novel I’ve been working on for the past two years, Erasing Rose, before leaving Mexico, but now I think that won’t happen. I thought the end was close, but it is not … it is far, far away. But then, what difference does it make? It’s not like I have a deadline (if advancing age doesn’t count as a deadline), or any publisher wanting it. Those days are over for me, but I admit it was a good run while it lasted. If I do finish this story, it will become my 11th novel.

When I was twelve years old, in a car with my mother driving me to school, she had asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. Without hesitation, I said I would be a writer … like Hemingway, some of whose stories I had read in magazines. Imagine the impact of Hemingway stories on a ten year old boy. That was now almost sixty years ago. My first novel (One Easy Piece / Coward-McCann) was published in 1982, when I was thirty-seven years old; I wasn’t ready much before that. It seemed to me that if I was to write “what you know,” it would help to know something first. So, although I was writing essentially everyday from my teenage years, it was just warming up, practicing the elements of craft … but mostly it was living: the Army, the vagabonding, working as a diver, then as captain of a charter fishing boat, then the years spent academically learning how to think (that’s why I worked my way through two degrees in philosophy — the only one of the intellectual disciplines with the sole purpose of learning how to think), writing three total failures while marrying and having children, trying to be a good person when it was so easy and compelling to be a bad one … then I was ready. More or less.

 

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2 replies »

  1. Really enjoyed reading your post… I’m moving to Guanajuato next month to study spanish literature, I wanna be a writer, I am currently posting my first story, The Wall. If you could check it out and leave some feedback that would be great ( :

  2. Thanks for reading this post. I think you will love Guanajuato, although my writer friend, Sandra Cisneros, who lives in San Miguel, calls Guanajuato “a spooky place.” I don’t exactly know what she means, but we were there only a few days.

    I’ll have a look after a while, at your writing, but that is not something I make a habit of doing — otherwise, I would be doing that most of the time, and not writing myself. So if you don’t hear from me about it for a while, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, only that I haven’t yet read it.