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.