Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel Prose Café Presents: Fredrika Sprengle, Robert Hawkins, and Molly Giles

You read that right.

That’s me, bookended by two actual accomplished and brilliant authors at San Miguel de Allende’s monthly Prose Café. It is happening this Thursday, Dec. 3, 5-6 p.m. Central.

On Zoom. Not only is this free but no pants are necessary. You only need register right here in advance.

Fredrika, Molly and I will each read something from our own creations and then entertain, oh my, whatever it is that Zoom events generate. Questions? Observations? Static? (That last one’s my personal nightmare. Not theirs.)

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The cabbie’s life: One night in Toronto

Back in the day — before Uber & Lyft, before Google street maps, before the Internet — there was a thing known as The Thomas Guide. It was a spiral-bound book of maps and street indexes for many of the major West Coast cities in the U.S.

It was a godsend for journalists and taxicab drivers alike.

Toronto had a similar book, as I discovered one night when I arrived to cover the Toronto Film Festival for my California newspaper.

“Where to, eh?

“Sutton Place,please.”

“Good, good. Is that cab in front of us going there, too?”

“No, they’re going to another hotel.”

“Good, good. OK. Sutton Place. That’s not far. Do you know where it is?”

“No. Don’t you?”

“Yeah. Well, no. Well, sort of. I usually work the West End. Don’t get up here that much.”

“Um … Bay Street. I think it is on Bay Street.”

“Bay Street? Good. Good. Bay Street. Bay Street. Right you are.”

“I think it is a main thoroughfare here. North and south.Turn here on University. You’re bound to cross it.”

“OK. Yeah. Right you are. Here, look in this book, page four. Got to be on page four or near it. Look on four.”

“There’s no map on four.”

“What do you mean? No! Index. Look at the index. You read; I’ll drive.”

“I can’t find a map. Look here, there’s Bay Street! If you turn here, we ought to find Sutton Place.”

“I can’t turn. See the sign? It says ‘No left turn.’ You really ought to learn how to read that book. You can get anywhere with in this city with that book, you can. Ah, I’ll turn anyway.”

“Why do I need to read this book? I’ll be leaving Toronto in two days. You live here. You learn it.”

“Sure, but what if you come back? You really ought to learn.”

You ought to learn. You live here, you drive the cab!”

“Right you are!”

“Look, there’s the Sutton. Just drop me off behind that car.”

“Right! The old Sutton! There you are! I got you here, didn’t I? You really ought to get one of these books. Invaluable! Fare’s $4.25. Told you I’d get you here. Well, have a good evening then.”

“Right. Keep the change.”

True story.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende

That time when ‘everything looked better in black and white’

Remember when your friends were nominating you to do stuff on Facebook that you wouldn’t dream of ever doing on your own?

Things like, “post the album covers of the seven LPs that changed your life.” And, “post the covers of 10 books that made you who you are today.” And, oh, whatever.

I can’t recall because I just don’t do that sort of thing.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Schultzie’s transistor radio started a revolt

Pocket-sized transistor radios were probably one of the first great subversive technologies. And smuggling one into a culturally hermetic community could spark a revolution.

That’s what happened when rock ‘n’ roll invaded the cloistered walls of my seminary.

Thank God.

As an eighth-grader I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. Two years later I realized that he had dialed a wrong number and I had, regrettably, answered.

I went all in: a missionary order whose Latin name translated to Society of the Divine Word (SVD).  The order had a very gothic looking building about 20 miles south of Erie, Pa., where they educated their high school recruits.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

A good Sunday morning walk to the Presa, unspoiled by the reality awaiting back in town

Horses and cattle graze where there was once water at the Presa, outside San Miguel de Allende. Chances are, the current rainy season will do its job and refill the reservoir.

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We went for a walk on Sunday.

Or maybe it was a hike. When does a walk stop being a walk and become a hike? Is it the distance? The degree of difficulty? The moment when you suddenly realize one call to Uber could end all this?

Anyhow, we went for a walk on Sunday.

Eight miles, round-trip.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

No rhyme, no reason: Randomly curated photos from the Pandemic-era

Yeah, this is how I feel every day when I open up my computer and begin reading the news. I want to scream, lash out, run for cover, then hide in the bushes for the rest of the day.

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I know “curated” does not mean “stuff left over.”

A curator searches through his or her museum’s basements, files, archives, vaults, hallways, and subterranean sanctorums in search of pieces that support an important theme or idea.

The hope is that, as a whole, a curated show will tell a story or bolster an idea. A curated show is more than a theme — say for example, pictures with something red in them.

There is no doubt that during self-isolation, we have changed. As our lives slowed down, our perception has improved. I dare say that we are all seeing, feeling, hearing, loving, fearing in ways our previously busy, noisy, distracting, and demanding lives would not permit.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Happy anniversary, ‘Jaws.’ But let me tell you the tale of my legendary duel with Moby Jaws

The summer that “Jaws” came out, I was sailing very poorly on a tiny wooden platform called a Sailfish off the coast of South Chatham on Cape Cod.  

Mind you, I had never sailed before.

We were rigged with a larger than normal sail, which under normal circumstances would have made for easy gliding on a sultry summer day.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 29: A podcast fest, shopping in-person & online, someone likes my blog, Lovett & Hiatt sing, and summer job memories

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After a wonderful dinner in a friend’s backyard last night, I felt the gentlemanly thing to do is walk Moppit this morning. It was a reunion of Casa de las Poetas former residents. John & Linda and Jimmy & Gina moved elsewhere in town.

Then the pandemic hit. It was good to sit around a table again, outside, and safely distanced.

I had my first fake-meat burger — whatever they are called. It was quite satisfactory and if I ever go vegetarian, I will order a case.

So, Rose usually walks Moppit in the morning and I take the early evening shift. Today, I hoped she would sleep in for once. Naturally, she was preparing her yoga mat before we even hit the street. Dedicated. Continue reading

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