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October 20th, 2009

San Miguel de Allende

I am holed up (with Holly Black, Cassie Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Theo Black, and Josh Lewis) in an expansive (but reasonable) villa in the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. It is famous (at least in certain YA writer circles) as the perfect place for a writing retreat. The food is good, the climate is clement, the colors are wonderful, and there's not a whole lot to do other than write. And play on the internet, but the connection is far too slow to make that fun for long. Besides, I don't play on the internet. I research. Mostly.

Why are you laughing at me?

Anyway. I arrived at the nearest airport last night at 10:40 local time, an hour after I expected to be there, took ages to get through customs (you press a button at the customs kiosk, and if the light flashes red, your suitcase gets searched. Mine flashed green, thank goodness, but there were several reds ahead of me, one with many suitcases), and was generally crosseyed and stiff and slightly headachy. By the time the car got me to San Miguel, it was midnight or thereabouts, the headache was no longer slight, we'd driven over highways, byways, and sections of unpaved road, and I had no sense at all of what kind of a place I was in. Were those dark shapes over there mountains or clouds? Were we in the mountains or on a high plateau? Was that cactus? (It was.) Were those little roadside stands in the middle of nowhere selling food? (They were). Were we ever going to get there? (We did).

Fed, watered, pina-coladed, Adviled, and well-slept, and fed again, I realize that of course we're in the mountains (high enough for an altitude headache), but since San Miguel seems to be on a kind of wide plateau, I still have no real sense of mountainness. Our villa is surrounded by walls, with nothing much visible over them but the neighbors' trees. Even when we went out for lunch, all I was aware of was the town itself, narrow, cobbled streets that had been grey and deserted the night before, now bright with walls painted ochre and pink and cerulean and alive with shopkeepers and school children and vendors and tourists. No dogs, though. Last night, I saw two in the country and a couple more in town, big black and tan animals with pointed muzzles and long tails, heading down the road at the purposeful trot of a dog with business to attend to.

And now the burning question. Have I written? Well, mostly what I'm doing is reacquainting myself with a text I've poked at and thought about, but not recently, and looking up some stuff, and taking notes and revising the odd (and I do mean odd) paragraph, in preparation for making, er allowing Holly and Sarah to read it so they can help me figure out what it's really about so I can figure out what the climax should be instead of dancing around batting at it like a cat with a half-dead bee.

Tomorrow will be more productive.

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