I recently found out more about my job in Central America. It looks like I will be teaching 11th grade English (American lit) and 12th grade AP English (British lit), with the possibility of eventually picking up creative writing. Required works on the American lit syllabus include The Things They Carried, The Awakening and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Works on the Brit lit syllabus include The Importance of Being Earnest, Frankensteinand Pride and Prejudice. I should also be able to choose various other readings to supplement the required ones.
By all indications, this school takes its reading and writing seriously. I do, too. Let’s hope this is a good match.
I wrote a prose poem about the Blue Angel sculpture coming down. Please don’t take it too seriously. It plays on the word “rehab” and humanizes the sculpture as a woman who may have stayed at the motel herself.
Special thanks to Bill Hughes for the pics, and Shaun Christensen and Jarret Keene for guidance on the piece. Also to Jessie O’Brien for publishing it.
As many of you know, I’ve been interviewing people who used to live in the underground flood channels. My plan is to include snippets of the interviews in a book—an oral account of surviving the Las Vegas storm drains.
Here, in the latest issue of Vegas Seven
magazine, is an abbreviated version of one of the interviews. Thanks to Paul Vautrinot for sharing his incredible story!
Somewhat to my surprise, my trip to El Salvador turned into a job interview at a prep school. I toured the campus, talked to the director and dean of faculty and met a few teachers and students. Before I left the country they offered me a job teaching 12th grade English. After returning to the States and giving it some thought, I accepted the offer.
There were simply too many positives for me to turn it down: I can save money, learn Spanish (though it’s an English-language school), see more of Central and South America, etc. Also, after nearly 20 years in Vegas, things feel stagnant. I’ve felt, at times, like a poker player who’s sure he has a full house, but everyone else seems to think he’s bluffing. Perhaps I’ve played this hand a little too long.
I won’t leave Las Vegas until late July, which gives me time to tie up loose ends, work on a few local projects (which you will hear more about), visit one or two state and national parks and get coffee or a drink with friends. Also, I hope to maintain my relationship with Vegas and return once or twice a year.
I’ll post more thoughts on this dramatic change—from Sin City to the Savior (Salvador)—as the date approaches. With love and respect for everyone who has supported my Vegas adventure …
I helped deliver the last issue of Downtown ZEN. Apparently the magazine is not going to be re-funded for the New Year. The timing seems odd, as we had put out additional newsracks, the pick-up rate was increasing, we had hired a proper sales staff, and the editorial product was strong (and getting stronger), but this was out of my control. Who knows? Maybe it will be revived in some form at some point or folded into an existing product, etc. There was, after all, a rainbow above downtown as I made my final rounds.
We’re working on a second edition of my book Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas. The plan is to clean up the writing a bit and add an extended epilogue and an “extras” photo album at the end.
We hope to release the second edition next year on the 10-year anniversary of the book. I’ll keep you updated. And thanks again for your continued support!