Let’s Go Way Out West! (Part 1)

[Photo by Cayetano Gil on Unsplash]

I have no desire to return to the past. Truly.

Which might seem like an odd thing to say given this entire blog is about the
past—specifically my life.

You see, I launched it over ten years ago this past October in a raging personal brushfire
of grief and memory. My parents had died two years before. The best way I knew to deal
with my pain was one I’d naturally used from childhood—writing. So, this blog is less
about me than you’d suspect (although you will have of course formed your own opinion
and will decidedly stick to it, as you damn well should).

When I mused over how I was going to tell the following tale, an autumn 1993 road trip
out west
with my new screenwriting agent and friend Diana Seyb, my first thought was
clear-cut: just curate what the journal relates—all ten full pages of it.

Well, that’s doable, but only if it’s sliced and diced into parts, and I allow time for
commentary or rumination of all the whys and wherefores. Because, in the end, why
should you care about my history if I don’t take the time to understand it myself?

But “curate” is a tender way of putting things. I mean it’s a squishy and more than a tad
highfalutin term. After a decade of this blog I’ve come to realize that you—the
reader—will react in unpredictable ways even when I feel I’m in control of the narrative.
That is to say (and I believe this): no one ever really tells the truth. It’s an ongoing
judgment call and shifts with the wind. I try to be as honest as I can since I realize there
will come a time when I am too infirm to know the difference between what occurred and
what I wrote down at the time. Even the journal, as close as it was to the unfolding of the
actual events, fails at that. I’ve seen it time and time again.

So let’s dive in anyway since the journey was titled in the diary as “Way Out West Tour
I, October 7 – October 16, 1993.” I’ll go into each entry subtitled Day One, Day Two,
etc., and summarize in brackets the events and cherry-pick passages of interest. Dear
Reader Friend, I hope you enjoy it.

Day One
Thursday, Oct. 7th (1993) Flight out to Houston

[Commentary: The first four paragraphs are a recounting of a visit to the Great American
History Theatre the night before my flight out, and general disgust with the people I
encountered there from my college internship as dramaturg in 1992. So it seems appropos
to pick it up at the top of the fifth ’graph…]

Anyway, fuck that. I’m off to Houston, Santa Fe & L.A. I could use more coffee and a
bite to eat. A few people called yesterday—Hollingsworth in the morning, then Dad, then
Pat Ciernia—after I got back from the play Mom left a cryptic “Be Careful” message. I’m
saddened by their lack of positive reinforcement. They should say: “Go get ’em, Tiger!”
Then finally Chris called & we chatted until 10:30. Postcards to: Mom & Dad, Grandpas,
Brian, Stacey & Colin, Chris, T.H., Ciernias (Four Eyes), Bob O., Bud & Ellen,
Willits…Fri AM call Therese!

“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” “Love’s a game…” Colloquial phrases NOT to be
taken literally, rather a friend to a friend: “Chin up…levity, lad!” [Realizing now this is
when I first started “self-parenting.” I filled in missing reinforcement with positive self-

Day Two
Friday, October 8 (1993), 8:45AM, Devil’s River Inn, Rm 238, Sonora, Texas

We got in around 10 PM last night after a good day largely spent in San Antonio. Diana
had been there before with her former boyfriend Jim.

Just had breakfast at the Steakhouse here—just a short stack of pancakes w/sausage. I’ve
got a large coffee here in the room. I arrived in Houston about five minutes ahead of
schedule and when I got off the plane Diana & her daughter Casey weren’t there yet, so I
went down to the baggage claim and got my suitbag & when I came back up they had

Casey’s an attractive brunette, 24 years, real commonsensical, pleasant. She’s living with
her Irish boyfriend Paul, and another woman friend of hers from college in Boston, Trish.
I didn’t get to meet either of them. We stopped back at Casey’s place to pick up Diana’s
things & Diana & I were on the road by 10:30-11am or so. Texas hadn’t changed much
since June
, but was less humid I thought.

The real enjoyment of the day was San Antonio. At first I was a little meanaced by it—I
don’t know why. Probably because part of it is poor. We parked the car and hit the
Riverwalk, looking for a place to eat. The Riverwalk was lovelier that I expected—I think
I imagined just paths around the river…but the river is narrow and you have to walk
down to the river, so there’s a sense of weird angles, and bridges & brickwork that
delight & surprise—like Portmeirion in Wales.

We had lunch at “Dick’s”—I had to run back & pay for parking (we forgot) and when I
got back I had a huge bottle of Lone Star beer waiting on ice for me. Diana had a
sandwich & I had the BBQ Chicken “bucket”—our waitress was loud and she cackled
that Texas cackle—funny.

We went and saw the Alamo. Pretty amazing. The community of Native Americans and
blacks & Europeans that fought together against the Mexican army & Santa Ana—it sort
of surprised me. Guess I always thought John Wayne did it alone. After that we stopped
in at the Saloon Bar at Menger’s Hotel where every president from Teddy Roosevelt on
stopped (not to mention Babe Ruth in 1930). We sat there for about an hour sipping white
wine & talking about relationships & stuff.

After that we headed out for Sonora—at around 6:30 (we’d gotten out of San Antonio at
around 2:30-3PM) I started to lose steam as the sun went down (a beautiful rainbow
outside San Antonio—then a lovely streaming sunset to the West).

TODAY—gotta call Therese and Scott. It’s my turn to drive today—up to Las Vegas,
New Mexico. It’s a cloudy day—69 [degrees] to start, cooler, I hear, in New Mexico.
(Old Carriage House B&B, Las Vegas, NM for Friday Oct. 8). Sonora to Ft. Stockton to
Pecos to Carlsbad to Roswell to Vaughan and up to Las Vegas. We had lunch at around
2:30 at a steakhouse in Pecos—cute wood-hewn cowboy paraphernalia.

Day Three
Saturday, Oct. 9th (1993) Old Carriage House, Las Vegas, NM

Call Therese at 9AM Meet downtown or at their place?

Supper last night at Pulcini’s Italian restaurant in Las Vegas—Melissa was our waitress, a
lovely 18 yr old who chatted pleasantly with us—we left her a nice tip—Wayne Pulcini,
owner. His wife opened a bottle of Chianti Classico for me. We had a beautiful sunset
coming in from Vaughan. I joked, “All we need when we come into Las Vegas to top that
is fireworks!”

When we came into Las Vegas there were fireworks.

The Highlands College of New Mexico was having their Homecoming.

For supper I had a Caesar salad con pollo (w/chicken) and excellent herb bread. A lot
more later—off to Santa Fe for the day!

[End of Part 1]

~ by completelyinthedark on April 22, 2021.

5 Responses to “Let’s Go Way Out West! (Part 1)”

  1. Roswell?!?! Apparently not much there!
    I tend to keep postcards. I’ll check and see if I come across yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Michael. Not sure that you will receive this message
    .. I am now an orphan, as I approach 60. Mum died on Wednesday. It was expected an anticipated for nearly 18 years! She said well, remarried and lost her 2nd husband 4 years ago. She loved to get giggly on wine and champagne and wear high heels with body con dresses! Hope you are well and content with this crazy world,. Xx Abi B


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