Skip to main content

The Secret Life of a Travel Guide Writer

Through a stone doorway left by a disappeared building I look across 200 years onto a patchwork field of alternating shades of green and yellow arrayed around a winding segment of electric blue river where the exiled court of Louis XVI was to have come to turn in a glittering irrelevance centered on wars of position for make-believe commissions in non-existent armies and the hatching of conspiracies. But the machinery never came.

I write from the restaurant on the other side of the parking lot. I am the customer for this and many other afternoons. The waitress looks like Lana Turner. The only other person is the owner and cook. While my lunch was being prepared she led my hand under her dress and whispered: Take me with you.

In between writing these words I look out the window at the movements in the sky above the patchwork field from 1792. Sitting in a continuous barrage of radiation from solar flares, I feel like I’m at the same turning point in many stories that I already know.