October 26th, 1996

San Francisco

Dear Liz,

I was so pleased to have received your letter and to get your news--especially that the recent hurricane did not ravage Culebra.

So you are going to Costa Rica. Wonderful. I've never been there, but I've met some Costa Ricans through the years and have had good reports about that place. Moreover, they have large national parks which are well protected--and that says something for such a small country. I've always liked Costa Rica because it is the only country in the world that does not have an army. They got rid of it around 1947-48 or so. Do enjoy yourself, and, if you remember, send me a postcard.

I'm working nights--again. It seems I am destined to be on the night shift, so I take it in stride and don't complain. I work lots of OT, so I am able to recoup all the earnings I lost during the almost 3 months I was unemployed and was collecting $89.00 per week in UI benefits. Can you imagine that? Moreover, I went to Albuquerque in June for Nicky's 17th birthday and used my credit card, and when I started to pay it off, my temp job ended and I found myself with so little money I had to borrow one thousand bucks on my cc. Ouch. But, one must live.

I am still writing. In fact, I just finished some more poetry and a long short story, and I'm rewriting a novel I wrote mnay years ago in Albuquerque. I have yet to hear from the publisher who has my novel which I finished last year, which was handed personally to the owner of the pub. compnay by a friend of mine who was in the pub. business for many years. But I don't attach myself to the process anymore; I just write. Of course, I'd like some recognition and bucks; but that is not the reason why I write.

I'm in complete sympahty with you about having to earn a living by a means other than one's art. As you say in your letter: "I've accepted the struggle."" what else can we do? I like the idea of you making painted masks out of gourds. Send me some pictures if you have any. I'm sure such works would do well in San Francisco. Too bad you can't come here.

I have a very old computer and a very old printer which I am using to get this letter to you. Let me tell you word processing is a real boon to a writer. I truly appreciate this electronic business very much because it makes the process of polishing and re-writing easier. Writing, that is, the original creative process does not change--in spite of computers, etc. Some things will never change. But using a PC sure beats a typewriter.

Ok, that's about it for now. I"ll send you some poems and a short story before the end of the year

(By the way, you might try using a steam iron on top of the lump of your wooden floor. It just might help. Of course, cover it first with a piece of cardboard or a towel. What you are doing is making the wood soft with the steam; then, place something flat and heavy over the area.) Good luck.

I send you my very best wishes for a well-deserved trip to Costa Rica. I send un abrazo fuerte, fuerte.

Your friend, con carino, friend, con carino,

water was a little too hot, but I suffered it because it has been at least ten days since I've had a full bath

and the weather is so bad, otherwise I would go over the other side of the river to the natural hot springs and sit in one of the holes until I began to feel weak. But the old zinc tub was all I had and I took ad