Every writer needs a back-up plan - and I think I have one. I shall go into business as a chile salesman.
The package was on the bottom of the stairs when I arrived home from a long day out. I sliced it open and found enough green chile, and some red, and some salsa, to start up my own road-side stall. With the publishing industry the way it is, it could come to that. The parcel came from my good friend, the writer, aviator and tech-head Glenn Norman (fellow veteran of Rudy Anaya’s Creative Writing class, University of New Mexico, 1986-87).
If you’ve never read Rudy’s work - especially his Chicano classic Bless Me Ultima - do have a look at his biog (http://latinopia.com/latino-literature/rodolfo-anaya/). You may find that first ovel of his a little sentimental in parts, but what the heck? It’s a coming-of-age novel: and you’re allowed to do that, aren’t you? I mean wallow in recalling your formative experiences. Besides, I think the book explains the 1940s and 1950s Mexican-American experience as well as anything I’ve read. Plus, he’s a lovely guy. And so is Glenn.
Glenn and I have somehow stayed in touch for 25 years. He’s advised me on writing, accommodated me in his Albuquerque home, entertained me with his astonishing adventures as a hung-glider (whoops! hang-glider…), fixed me up with a pilot who took me out in a micro-light one time and scared the living crap out of me - and now comes to rescue me from the depths of a severe chile-deprivation in an English midwinter. I guess when we next met up it’s my round.
More in a day or two on my trip around Mike Pannett’s childhood haunts. Right now I have to make sense of the scrawled notes I made….