The 19th of July 1977 – Sonoma, California

(found by the hills of sand in the desert or something)

Dearest Magnolia,

What a terribly long and circuitous journey this has been. What a long and winding path to travel and only to have gotten here.

I have had trouble sleeping these past few nights, and – dear god – I fear that I will never sleep again as long as I live.

Where will all this walking lead me, is what I wonder now. When will I have a chance to rest my feet and catch my breath, allow the sunburnt skin peel off from the back of my neck.

So many snakes and scorpions, but this is all just typical, clichéd drivel. This is a journey. Journeys are perilous. Ah – of course, of course and of course again – LIFE! Life is a journey too, my dearest.

What a crock. What a phony, phony fool, thinking there is originality and sincerity in the paths so well-traveled that they have turned into dust. Cold-hearted cows in fields chew cud, and here I am, writing a story and becoming nothing different. Attempting to share something so unshareable that the only way to share it is by ignoring it and writing down something else entirely, something simpler, something that can be understood and sold on a mass-quantity basis.

You’re all idiots, Magnolia. Every last one of you, and all because I wrote about snakes and scorpions because I figured that it’s something you wanted to hear about even though it is not at all something worth knowing. What a crock. What a phony, phony place.

It is terribly dry here. Send water. Just pour it in the envelope. I’m sure the postman won’t mind. I’m somewhere in the desert, if that helps you with the address.

Hopefully (but not expecting much),

Paul

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