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6:16 p.m. - November 07, 2005
I am exhausted but having a wonderful time here in Las Vegas. The conference is going well, I'm a minor celebrity because of the book (an odd, uncomfortable sensation to be asked for an autograph. I dislike it.), my workshops cannot be faulted, and in the evenings I explore the strip. Capitalize Strip? In a decadent, over-the-top-I'm-ashamed-to-be-American-way, Las Vegas - at least the parts I've seen and walked - is beautiful, that is if you keep your eyes on the buildings and not on the men every five feet wearing T-shirts that proclaim Hot strippers at your door in 20 minutes and distributing cards with naked women on one side, and phone numbers on the other. Reality and fantasy clash in a way that strikes me as wonderfully human - the garishness and the beautiful people, the Prada stores and the woman crying at a slot machine, the bright lights and gutters full of urine. It's beautiful to me, but I'm eager to return to my suburb with its trees and lawns.

So many beautiful people here I wonder why there are no laws prohibiting the movement of the non-beautiful, lest we mar the vistas.

I'm having a great time - no need to return (ever?) but a pleasure while I'm here.

Ran into the program director at Columbia U. who urged me to attend, saying he could offer me a full ride and secured housing. As quickly as I dismissed the idea, I can't stop thinking about it. My first notion is to think, I couldn't do that. Maybe a year ago or two or three, I couldn't. But now, for some reason, I could. That itself makes me feel good.

Thanks for the note, Joel. Hope all is well.


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