In the South of France.

Second time around, the love gets stronger!

Thousands of miles away, her mind is able to switch off from reality.

Her heart beats with excitement each waking moment.

Oh! how the smell of the ocean invites delight!

There is no ending, only beginnings.

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I’m in Bend, Oregon, this week. This is my last day. We'll drive home after brekkie.

Bend is a lovely city in the middle of the high desert, a place rich with volcanic legacy. You know this because a many signs state it so. Also, you can look around and see remnants of the volcanic activities all around you. Mountains like the snow drenched Mt.  Jefferson and the Sisters. Buttes shaped like camel humps pock the landscape. These formed around vents and eruptions. One prominent butte is Pilot’s.


Pilot’s Butte is right off the highway in Bend. Go up the hill three quarters of a mile and you’re at one of the local shopping meccas. This mecca features Jamba Juice, Whole Foods, Office Max and Costco. Go west, down the hill from Pilot’s Butte and you’re downtown in a mile, down by the river, Mirror Pond, and the lovely Drake’s Park. Driving Pilot’s Butte is well worth the six minutes of gas and time. Walking the trail up, just a mile, will present you with the same rewards of stunning views and history lessons that driving presents, but with the added dividend of some brisk exercise.

We’re in Bend because we like the downtown and needed a diversion from our calcified routines.  It’s our third visit here in two years. Besides the pleasant downtown, several used book stores are easily accessed. Multiple breweries, pubs and brew houses, bakeries and restaurants, and art and shopping centers make Bend home. Skiing was in vogue, with Mt Bachelor open for snowy activities. Bend doesn’t have an seashore but a river runs through it, the Deschutes River, tributary to the mighty Columbia.

I'm out of the news cycle, part of being on vacation, even mini-vacations, a long weekend, like this. Days are spent, shopping, hiking, eating and exploring. Each morning, though, I still followed my calcified ritual of dressing, walking down to a local coffee shop and getting a brew. Then I’d find a table, set up my computer and pounce on the keyboard. Saturday's session was a bit dismal. I was editing and revising a completed chapter preparatory to writing a new chapter. Halfway through the completed chapter, I sat back with a grimace and acknowledgement, this chapter needed work. At that point, I’d invested an hour and a half. My wife was back in the hotel room, catching up on her email on her Mac and reading her book so I felt I had to bail. While I no longer wrote, my mind kept up at it, talking to me about what needed done on the chapter as I went through everything else that day.

I’m reading Cloud Atlas while up here. It’s a stimulating read. My wife’s book sounds very interesting. I can’t recall the author but the title is Killed at the Whim of a Hat. Set in Thailand, the protagonist is a crime journalist in a large city. Her life is turned over when her mother sells the family business and home and buys a rundown hotel in a small town. The protagonist is despairing. This town doesn’t know crime. Fortunately, murder soon appears, and she is able to impress everyone with her skills and knowledge as she pursues clues. As it often takes place in a murder mystery, where there’s one killing there’s usually another one, and the plot thickens. This is all according to my wife, but I trust her reporting.

Meanwhile, I’m high on positive feedback. Whereas I’d received some feedback from readers that they’d not been able to ‘get into’ my manuscript for Returnee, I heard from several this week who are loving it. Mind you, they’re friends and but halfway through. I know it’s a complicated book and they confirmed that by telling me how they established tricks to go back to find who and what is, well, who and what. I remarked that sounds like I need a little editing to help make it more user friendly but they protested, no, no, don’t do anything, let us keep reading, we’re enjoying it. They’re good friends. Beer drinkers, which, as you know, are people of high character.

So here I am, my final day in Bend, Sunday morning, seven thirty AM, down in the coffee shop, coffee at hand, rear in chair.


Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. 

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