Today I finished the quick 2nd draft of my travel writing, and darned if it doesn't come to 100 pages. Working title, "Travel Cities" (being a series of prose poems set in specific places I call "cities"). I gathered the maps and miscellaneous documents I'd mailed home and reached into my shelf of folders and envelopes. There I'd tossed the plastic folder-sized envelop I'd kept documents in while travelling. The yellow plastic remains intact, and the snap still holds. I put it to work again.
I headed for a latte, pretty sure that when I sat down, opened the plastic envelop and started going through the contents, I'd find a title for his new book (as it might one day be). I hadn't even left the parking lot when I got it: City Map. That's the new title.
Latte steaming, I opened the envelop a few minutes later to Jose Saramago's "Words for a City" from his The Notebook, a transcription of his late-in-life blog: "What we know of places is how we coincide with them over a certain period of time in the spaces they occupy." Simple but loaded. Because so much about travel, and my own travel writing, involves knowing or not knowing, maybe Saramago's words, artfully chosen, will be the new title.
This is all fun, this stage of mini-accomplishment before the next stage of prolonged agony (a dynamic my body experienced many times on the hills of Alfama in Lisbon).
My maps, worn from the folded intimacy in my pockets and repeated, often hasty consultations in wind, sun, water, and sand of Europe and Morocco, once more oriented themselves in my hands at a café, this time a block and a half from home. They'd proven to be more flashy geometry than accurate cartography, in some cases, but they got me going.