Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm back from Spain, baby! November 16 DAY 1 OF 10

Pull the emergency break and throw the gear into drive. This Volkswaagen is driving from Barcelona to Valencia and there is nothing anyone can do about it. We're driving and we're going to get lost. We're going to stop in a little village and ask for directions from its only occupant - an old lady with a cane. We're going to step in manure crossing through an old field. We're going to take pictures next to a centuries old farmhouse; dilapidated and ruined but perfectly beautiful. We're going to track in manure and smell shit for the rest of the ride. All this happens later so let me start at the beginning.

We said goodbye to the airport and friends in the early evening of November 16th. We'd see them again in Barcelona. Joe and Gus took a different flight. Iberia would go over the Atlantic. Face the same turbulance as we faced over Nova Scotia.

Miguel, Mike and I sat comfortably. Served excellent food from Lufthansa's world class chef (if you can believe that), drank a few glasses of wine, blared my portable speakers until - "Can you please lower that," came from the flight attendant. He was polite about it. Here come the ugly Americans, Europa and we're bringing Blue Steel and the rest of his cohorts like Hannibal leading his troops over the Pyranees. We're coming to make love to your tierra and dance in the darkness of your Gothic districts. We're coming to plant kisses on your steeples and drain the life out of our bodies. We're coming to transfuse our blood with your blue waters. On the plane, we chased the horizon looking for that Spanish morning but only seeing the glow somewhere way off where the sun is just beginning to rise.

Pit stop in Franfurt.

"Get out of the plane. Stretch your legs and get on the next flight to Barcelona!" The flight left about 530 in the morning. The darkness was still lurking through the German sky. The Germans... they still give me an eerie feeling. It's especially eerie when you see the police officers in their uniforms wearing eagle crests. I handed them my passport, walked through the metal detectors. I tried to speak the little German I knew but it was useless. "Danke" I would say and they would reply, "you're welcome".

Board the plane and go go go.

Our plane was mostly empty. The boys and I were able to stretch across the seats comfortably. When the plane took off it was all dark out. Miguel and I said something to each other when I was blinded by light beaming through the windows. I was afraid but this wasn't a Nazi attack. I turned around and saw the sun pouring in like a flood - it was rising and what a sunrise. The clouds were perfectly compacted and the sun lay on top of them and showing off its brightness.

I had hoped to sleep a little but who can sleep on a sunrise like that? Soon enough we'd meet the Spanish coast and it's blue Meditteranean waters. Port Lligat, the Pyranees, the little villages tucked along the beaches. White rooftops and tiny little people waking up as our man-made bird flew above them. What was sunrise for the Spaniards should have been sunset for us. Our bodies felt the time as late and not early. America was long gone and thank God.

This is the end of Day 1 of 9. There will be a new blog each day dedicated to one day from this fantastic adventure.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Writer Goes to Spain

I'm beginning my winter (anything below 60 degrees is winter) with a trip to Spain. This may not be the best time to go to Spain because the temperature is about the same as it is here. I'm choosing to do so anyway.

This motley crue of thieves and degenerates that I'm going with intends on having a good time. A little bit of a car ride. A little bit of paella and a little bit of the Rioja.

The truth about this trip is that it may be more mundane than anything. I anticipate that my big moment will be waking up before every one else, going down the street to a cafe then sitting down and writing about how nice it is to wake up early before every one else, walk down the street to a cafe and write down about how nice it is to wake up early before every one else...

Yes, that's right. I'm going to Spain to write down about how nice it is to wake up before every one else and talk to my journal.

Any of you writers know that experience makes a diverse pallet to paint your stories with. If you know me, you know that I'm writing a book called The Whiskey Dregs. It is yet to pass the 80 page marker. I go through all of the notes in my head and ask the same question over and over: Well, who cares about this story?

The story takes place in New Orleans and it's about the dregs of society having a great time. So far, what I have is a book about having fun. The thing you should be doing instead of sitting home on a Friday night reading about other people having fun. So what's the point? This is what goes through my head. It's a book for the same guys that buy porn mags.


Man in his 40's. Grease stained shirt. Eye glasses. You know, your typical cassanova. The love child women drop down to their knees for. That guy. He walks down the street. He's alone and it's Friday night. He's looking for love but there's no one available. The neon lights from his favorite store casts a familiar glow onto the puddle of water. The smell of fresh rain abounds the streets and he knows this the signal for the uni-mate ceremony that he performs for occasions such as this.

The pink neon glow refelcts from his glasses as he pushes them up. He tucks his shirt in, looks both ways and opens the door. The man is now inside perusing the fine undergarments with holes in places a crotch should be. He looks over the black gadgets that look like man's penis. He beams at the sight of a Jenna Jameson vibrating vagina. This is his wonderland. This is his swingset. But this is not what he wants.

Within a few minutes, the man is over by the counter.

"Hello, Habib," he tells the man who is guarding the mags and dirty books.

"Hello," Habib tells the man. He doesn't remember this customer's face and it's a generic smile: "Hi, how are you? Shut the fuck up. Buy my shit," that's all it means.

So this perv. This dirty birdie, he points to the shelf behind Habib and he asks, "Habib, give me a copy of [such and such] magazine and what's that book over there? The Whiskey Dregs? I'll have that too."

Folks, I'm telling you. I'm writing a book for porn kings and billy goats and people who frequent methadone clinics and go through 12 step programs. I'm writing pulp nonsense that is spliced together with my wisdom - or whatever it is I've learned from living in the sub-basement of New York for so many years. Now all I'm concerned about is:

New Orleans or Spain?