January 11, 2016 — Phoenix, Arizona

I’m afraid I re-injured my left leg yesterday. I had strained a tendon while cycling several weeks ago, and yesterday I thought it was healed enough that I could try a bike ride. I only rode a bit over 25 miles (40 kilometers) yesterday, which is a short ride for me. When I arrived home, I was in pain, and this morning I walk with a painful limp. I find this a bit depressing. I had hoped to be competitive in bicycle racing this year, but it appears that I cannot ride the bike at all without doing myself harm. I’m going to stay off the bike for now, but I will not be at all happy if I have to give up cycling for the rest of my life.

My Kindle book on the Camino (click on the cover image to the left for details) is selling well, but although hundreds of people have downloaded it from Amazon, the book only has two reviews, both on the USA Amazon site. I would be very grateful if people who have read the book would leave an honest review on Amazon.

Interestingly, to me at least, the second-best market for the book is the United Kingdom followed by Australia. I have both US and UK citizenship, so I’m happy that my fellow citizens in both countries are reading the book.

I plan to spend the rest of today reviewing what I have written so far on my novel, tentatively titled Running for President. I’ve gotten to the point where the protagonist, Jason Wilder, has declared his candidacy for the governorship of Arizona. His anti-immigrant campaign has angered his Mexican-born wife, Lupita, and she has left him. (He’s a real jerk; I don’t blame her for leaving him.) Now I need to carry the story forward from there, which includes adding some realistic details about this imaginary campaign. Time to hop to it!

January 9, 2016 — Phoenix, Arizona

The new addition to this blog is the image, to the left, of the cover of my Kindle book about hiking the Camino francés last summer. The Camino francés is the most popular of the many Caminos de Santiago and is the same one that is featured in the movie The Way starring Martin Sheen. If you click on the book cover, a new window should open in your browser showing the book’s page on the Amazon website.

I got in no cycling today. It must have rained during the night, because the streets were still wet this morning. This afternoon I promised to stay home so that those of my bicycle racing teammates who live in the Phoenix area can come by and try on our team clothing for size. So far, not one of them has shown up. The sun is shining now, and I could be outside on the bike.

As I have previously written in this blog, I am writing a  novel about a man named Jason Wilder who runs for governor and eventually for president of the United States. On a whim, I searched the Internet using the term “running for governor,” and the following delightful story by Mark Twain popped up. As far as I know, it’s in the public domain, so I have pasted it below in case you would like to read it. I warn you, however, you may do yourself injury from laughing so hard.

And now, finally, I’m going to get a few pages written about my own fictional account of running for governor.

THE GALAXY, December 1870

MEMORANDA.

BY MARK TWAIN.

RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR.

A few months ago I was nominated for Governor of the great State of New York, to run against Stewart L. Woodford and John T. Hoffman, on an independent ticket. I somehow felt that I had one prominent advantage over these gentlemen, and that was, good character. It was easy to see by the newspapers, that if ever they had known what it was to bear a good name, that time had gone by. It was plain that in these latter years they had become familiar with all manner of shameful crimes. But at the very moment that I was exalting my advantage and joying in it in secret, there was a muddy undercurrent of discomfort “riling” the deeps of my happiness — and that was, the having to hear my name bandied about in familiar connection with those of such people. I grew more and more disturbed. Finally I wrote my grandmother about it. Her answer came quick and sharp. She said:

You have never done one single thing in all your life to be ashamed of — not one. Look at the newspapers — look at them and comprehend what sort of characters Woodford and Hoffman are, and then see if you are willing to lower yourself to their level and enter a public canvass with them.

It was my very thought! I did not sleep a single moment that night. But after all, I could not recede. I was fully committed and must go on with the fight. As I was looking listlessly over the papers at breakfast, I came across this paragraph, and I may truly say I never was so confounded before:

PERJURY. — Perhaps, now that Mr. Mark Twain is before the people as a candidate for Governor, he will condescend to explain how he came to be convicted of perjury by thirty-four witnesses, in Wakawak, Cochin China, in 1863, the intent of which perjury was to rob a poor native widow and her helpless family of a meagre plantain patch, their only stay and support in their bereavement and their desolation. Mr. Twain owes it to himself, as well as to the great people whose suffrages he asks, to clear this matter up. Will he do it?

I thought I should burst with amazement! Such a cruel, heartless charge — I never had seen Cochin China! I never had beard of Wakawak! I didn’t know a plantain patch from a kangaroo! I did not know what to do. I was crazed and helpless. I let the day slip away without doing anything at all. The next morning the same paper had this — nothing more:

SIGNIFICANT. — Mr. Twain, it will be observed, is suggestively silent about the Cochin China perjury.

[Mem. — During the rest of the campaign this paper never referred to me in any other way than as “the infamous perjurer Twain.”]

Next came the “Gazette,” with this:

WANTED TO KNOW. — Will the new candidate for Governor deign to explain to certain of his fellow-citizens (who are suffering to vote for him!) the little circumstance of his cabin-mates in Montana losing small valuables from time to time, until at last, these things having been invariably found on Mr. Twain’s person or in his “trunk” (newspaper he rolled his traps in), they felt compelled to give him a friendly admonition for his own good, and so tarred and feathered him and rode him on a rail, and then advised him to leave a permanent vacuum in the place he usually occupied in the camp. Will he do this?

Could anything be more deliberately malicious than that? For I never was in Montana in my life.

[After this, this journal customarily spoke of me as “Twain, the Montana Thief.”]

I got to picking up papers apprehensively — much as one would lift a desired blanket which he had some idea might have a rattlesnake under it. One day this met my eye:

THE LIE NAILED! — By the sworn affidavits of Michael O’Flanagan, Esq., of the Five Points, and Mr. Kit Burns and Mr. John Allen, of Water street, it is established that Mr. Mark Twain’s vile statement that the lamented grandfather of our noble standard-bearer, John T. Hoffman, was hanged for highway robbery, is a brutal and gratuitous LIE, without a single shadow of foundation in fact. It is disheartening to virtuous men to see such shameful means resorted to to achieve political success as the attacking of the dead in their graves and defiling their honored names with slander. When we think of the anguish this miserable falsehood must cause the innocent relatives and friends of the deceased, we are almost driven to incite an outraged and insulted public to summary and unlawful vengeance upon the traducer. But no — let us leave him to the agony of a lacerating conscience — (though if passion should get the better of the public and in its blind fury they should do the traducer bodily injury, it is but too obvious that no jury could convict and no court punish the perpetrators of the deed).

The ingenious closing sentence had the effect of moving me out of bed with dispatch that night, and out at the back door, also, while the “outraged and insulted public” surged in the front way, breaking furniture and windows in their righteous indignation as they came, and taking off such property as they could carry when they went. And yet I can lay my hand upon the Book and say that I never slandered Governor Hoffman’s grandfather. More — I had never even heard of him or mentioned him, up to that day and date.

[I will state, in passing, that the journal above quoted from always referred to me afterward as “Twain, the Body-Snatcher.”]

The next newspaper article that attracted my attention was the following:

A SWEET CANDIDATE. — Mark Twain, who was to make such a blighting speech at the mass meeting of the Independents last night, didn’t come to time! A telegram from his physician stated that he had been knocked down by a runaway team and his leg broken in two places — sufferer lying in great agony, and so forth, and so forth, and a lot more bosh of the same sort. And the Independents tried hard to swallow the wretched subterfuge and pretend that they did not know what was the real reason of the absence of the abandoned creature whom they denominate their standard-bearer. A certain man was seen to reel into Mr. Twain’s hotel last night in state of beastly intoxication. It is the imperative duty of the Independents to prove that this besotted brute was not Mark Twain himself: We have them at last! This is a case that admits of no shirking. The voice of the people demands in thunder-tones: “WHO WAS THAT MAN?

It was incredible, absolutely incredible, for a moment, that it was really my name that was coupled with this disgraceful suspicion. Three long years had passed over my head since I had tasted ale, beer, wine, or liquor of any kind.

[It shows what effect the times were having on me when I say that I saw myself confidently dubbed “Mr. Delirium Tremens Twain” in the next issue of that journal without a pang — notwithstanding I knew that with monotonous fidelity the paper would go on calling me so to the very end.]

By this time anonymous letters were getting to be an important part of my mail matter. This form was common:

How about that old woman you kiked of your premisers which was beging.
POL PRY.

And this:

There is things which you have done which is unbeknowens to anybody but me. You better trot out a few dols. to yours truly or you’ll hear thro’ the papers from
HANDY ANDY.

That is about the idea. I could continue them till the reader was surfeited, if desirable.

Shortly the principal Republican journal “convicted” me of wholesale bribery, and the leading Democratic paper “nailed” an aggravated case of blackmailing to me.

[In this way I acquired two additional names: “Twain, the Filthy Corruptionist,” and “Twain, the Loathsome Embracer.”]

By this time there had grown to be such a clamor for an “answer” to all the dreadful charges that were laid to me, that the editors and leaders of my party said it would be political ruin for me to remain silent any longer. As if to make their appeal the more imperative, the following appeared in one of the papers the very next day:

BEHOLD THE MAN! — The Independent candidate still maintains Silence. Because he dare not speak. Every accusation against him has been amply proved, and they have been endorsed and re-endorsed by his own eloquent silence till at this day he stands forever convicted. Look upon your candidate, Independents! Look upon the Infamous Perjurer! the Montana Thief! the Body-Snatcher! Contemplate your incarnate Delirium Tremens! your Filthy Corruptionist! your Loath some Embracer! Gaze upon him — ponder him well — and then say if you can give your honest votes to a creature who has earned this dismal array of titles by his hideous crimes, and dares not open his mouth in denial of any one of them!

There was no possible way of getting out of it, and so, in deep humiliation, I set about preparing to “answer” a mass of baseless charges and mean and wicked falsehoods. But I never finished the task, for the very next morning a paper came out with a new horror, a fresh malignity, and seriously charged me with burning a lunatic asylum with all its inmates because it obstructed the view from my house. This threw me into a sort of panic. Then came the charge of poisoning my uncle to get his property, with an imperative demand that the grave should be opened. This drove me to the verge of distraction. On top of this I was accused of employing toothless and incompetent old relatives to prepare the food for the foundling hospital when I was warden. I was wavering — wavering. And at last, as a due and fitting climax to the shameless persecution that party rancor had inflicted upon me, nine little toddling children of all shades of color and degrees of raggedness were taught to rush on to the platform at a public meeting and clasp me around the legs and call me PA!

I gave up. I hauled down my colors and surrendered. I was not equal to the requirements of a Gubernatorial campaign in the State of New York, and so I sent in my withdrawal from the candidacy, and in bitterness of spirit signed it,

“Truly yours,

“Once a decent man, but now
“MARK TWAIN, I. P., M. T., B. S., D. T., F. C., and L. E.”

January 8, 2016 — Phoenix, Arizona

It is STILL raining in Phoenix. I have cabin fever from spending so much time in the house. I have been out walking, but I haven’t been out training on the bike, because when the streets are wet, the tires throw oil and mud all over my bike and my clothes. Maybe I should forget about riding my racing bikes and get out the touring bike, which has fenders. I plan to ride that touring bike along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela next year, so perhaps I should get used to riding it again.

I got nothing done on the book I am writing yesterday, and I’ll probably get little writing done today. House cleaning is in order. Next week I should be able to sit at the computer hour after hour and write.

I have reached the point in the book where my protagonist, Jason Wilder, has announced his candidacy for the governorship of Arizona on the Republican Party. In his announcement, he made the obligatory (for an Arizona Republican) condemnation of immigration from Mexico. This is a big threat to his marriage, because his wife, Lupita, was born in Mexico, and she is not at all pleased. Will she stay with him and stand behind him, at least in public, during his campaign, or will she denounce and leave him? I know what I want to happen, but I have found in writing this novel, Running for President, that my characters take on wills of their own and don’t always do what I want them to do. They only exist thanks to my imagination, so you would think they would show a bit more respect for my opinion.

January 7, 2016 — Phoenix, Arizona

I was previously using this blog as a daily diary as I walked along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Camino francés), but I have since added to the information from that blog and published it as an Amazon Kindle ebook, available from Amazon under the title. From now on, this will be my author’s blog.

The Kindle book is entitled A Senior Citizen Walks the Camino de Santiago. By the way, despite the fact that it’s my book, I think it’s a great resource for anyone who plans to walk the Camino or has an interest in knowing what walking the Camino is like. So far the feedback I’ve had from the people who have read it is very good. If you’re interested in the book’s description, you can search for it on any Amazon website.

I am now working on a new book under the working title Running for President. It is about a man who is born in Chicago, moves to Phoenix to attend Arizona State University, gets a job selling cars, manages to become the owner of a car dealership, and then runs for the office of governor of Arizona. That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the rough draft so far, but as the working title suggests, I plan to have him run for president. If anyone would like to have a free copy of the rough draft as far as I have written it, I’d be glad to send it out as an email attachment and then update it as I progress. You can email your request to me at paybay2 (at) mosmicro (dot) com.

I am an amateur bicycle racer, and I had planned to be in competitive shape this coming summer, but my body has different ideas. I currently have a sprain in my left leg and in my right arm, which prevent me from spending very much time on the bike training. It’s not exactly training weather in Phoenix this week at any rate. It’s been drizzling rain on and off since Monday, and today there is a steady rain and a sky so gray that it is blocking most of the sunlight. I have to turn on a light in the house to read or even to see anything beyond the outline of the objects that clutter every room.

I felt sorry for the mailman, who delivered a package today. He normally parks his postal jeep at the end of the street and walks his route, but today he drove from house to house to stay out of the rain. He still had to get out of his vehicle at each stop. It can’t be pleasant, even though he is wearing rain gear. I was kind enough to go outside and meet him halfway.

By the way, the package is what we call a “fit kit.” It contains sizing samples of cycling jerseys, shorts, etc. Members of our cycling team, Team RPM, who live in the Phoenix area will come by my house in the coming days to try them on to see what size team clothing they should order for the 2016 racing season.

Well, the house is filthy, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll do some cleaning so that my teammates will not see how dirty my house gets when I am here alone.

September 11, 2015 — Madrid, Spain — Final Post

Note: I have now compiled the story of my Camino into an ebook which is available on Amazon. I developed the book based on this blog, but it is much easier to read, because it is in chronological order. You can view the book’s details and download a free sample on Amazon by clicking on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0186HRI3U

I spent much of today getting things ready for the flight home, which I’ve rescheduled to Monday in three days. This little note will be the final entry in this blog. To those of you who have been reading it, I am grateful that you spent some of your time reading something that I wrote. — Jack

Breaking news — Spanish police announced this evening that they have arrested a suspect in the disappearance of Denise Thiem, the Phoenix, Arizona woman who disappeared between Astorgas and El Ganso while doing the Camino in April of this year.

by Jack Quinn, Phoenix, Arizona USA paybay1(at)mosmicro.com