I wrote a short story many years ago (1989) in Spain and called it Toro Muerte. Before coming to Spain, I saw it only as flamenco dancers, bullfights and Hemingway, drunk. The only flamenco dancers I saw were little girls in small towns, both eager to grow, the bullfights I couldn’t distinguish from the game shows, and Hemingway was nowhere to be found. “Are you a writer?” I stutter, never thinking the muse – braces, roses and tennis shoes – could come from such an innocent throng. Spring didn’t come this year; there wasn’t any room between the dry air and tired sun, no time for blossoms and birds, nothing outside the thoroughfare. Cars plunging horizon to horizon, rubber and olive branches left on the shoulder with the sod clumps and rusted bones, waste piled at grates. The gap widens. I don’t know how well the narrative holds – four little stories intertwining in Central Spain – but I remember the writing of it well, the heavy table, the bars on the window, the congestion in the winding street, watching a football match with my hosts at the pensione, not speaking a word of Spanish, walking late at night, the plaza full of vespas, and writing every day until it was done.
I attended a taping of The Colbert Report on Thursday, September 20. And while I cannot say much of anything good for the long wait in line nor the fascistic demands placed on the audience – reminiscent of Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate – I have nothing but praise for Mr. Colbert himself.
Stephen Colbert is a sharp fellow. Brimming with wit, confidence and talent – he sang three Sondheim extracts off the cuff – he comes across as an old friend. He has clearly worked hard to construct his candy store and is relishing every minute. Everyone wants to know what’s next. And after that? What else have you got? Even when he screws up, it’s good. Let’s try that again! Forward and on! He’s like a perpetual motion machine. Does he ever turn off?
I was thinking that it would be great to write like that, jumping in and out of scenes, switching between characters, dabbing in details, punching up the ending, twisting the start, whipping in quotes, snapping out descriptions, commas and colons in a whirlwind of brilliance and light…yes, that would be nice. Back to it.