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James A. Baker III wants to take out Iraq but not go it alone. Everyone from that administration must labor beneath a constant crushing sense of unfinished business. And I have my own analog; it has been a blessing to return home and find old friends, exciting and creative people still, but suddenly I am dividing my time between a welter of writing projects, music projects, a new embryonic film project—not to mention everything I have conceived but not yet started, like the literary text adventure or the Chinese landscape painting of the Catalinas—and an incredible dilution of energy has resulted. Nabokov mentions the "discomfort... to live in my workshop among discarded limbs and unfinished torsos," and do we ever know that around here. I need to pull back, retrench, and plow through the novel for a bit. I'm losing guidance.

 

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The Warm South
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