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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Nebraska Tour Up and Running

The Nebraska Book Tour is up and running. I have completed my first two engagements and can report that they went pretty well. Why exactly I am sitting here in an adobe house in Taos, New Mexico, watching buzzards, takes some explaining.

One of the buzzards circling the house where I'm staying

The fact is, my next SIX engagements all come in a rush around the middle of the month - so, like it or not, I found myself looking at a nine-day break. I have friends in Taos, also in  Albuquerque. And a portion of my heart has resided here since my year at the University of New Mexico in 1986-87. Ask anyone who has spent any substantial period of time in The Land of Enchantment. Ask D H Lawrence. Ask Georgia O'Keeffe. Ask Mabel Dodge Luhan.

The talks in Chadron went well, I believe. It's always hard to tell. But I made people laugh now and then, and they stayed to ask questions and buy books. The organisers of the Sandoz Society Conference were very pleased with the turn-out - the first time they have added a Saturday session. The place genuinely was packed - and how wonderful it was to see a lot of familiar and friendly faces.

I was, of course, exhausted after my journey, more so after delivering the talks - even though the library session was a fairly simple account of my writing career and the long path that led to my writing and publishing Cody, The Medicine Man and Me. Performing can be very demanding. It ceertainly is for me. However, I had a schedule, and decided to drive down to New Mexico on Sunday. I miscalculated.

What I expected to be a six-hour journey (Chadron to Raton, just across the border from Colorado) took me ten. Worse, I found that I didn't have a Colorado highway map with me, just a list of the significant juncrtions I'd copied down the night before. The last three hours or so it was dark and I managed to get lost in the dreary flatlands approaching Hoehne and La Junta.

When I finally hit Raton, my head pounding, it took me half an hour to locate Melody Lane Motel. Up and down the main drag, in an out of gas stations seeking advice... and in the end I called in at the Budget Host, simply because it seemed to be roughly where Melody Lane ought to be. Surely they would be able toput me right. 'Oh yes,' said the lady at the desk, 'Melody Lane. Old name! We changed it.' (To add a final twist, as I hauled my case into the room - it was an exceptionally nice room - and started to unpack a few things, out popped my Colorado highway map.

Tomorrow, lunch with a flute-maker. Wednesday, Albuquerque.

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