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Greetings to the Gentleman in the Blue Datsun. Your Lights Are On.

My publicist says that American readers will not understand my bathing naked with my family, even though it is a common custom, and especially they will not understand my kissing my sister when I was eleven. American children do not play like that, she says. Oh, don’t be stupid, I told her. I have read American literature. Faulkner, etcetera. Of course American children do these things, only with them it is not play.
I am in Chicago this weekend. At my book signing, they listened very politely and remarked that Japan was such a very fascinating place. There was a man in the audience I thought might have something more interesting to say. His fingers were black, and I thought it was…well, I was mistaken. He was a mechanic; it was oil. I felt oddly disappointed.

I do not need a publicist to tell me not to speak of what I hoped his fingers meant. America is not Japan. I have seen already the same blue Datsun in the parking lots of my readings, with South Dakota license plates and a Virgin Mary bobble head on the dash. The head of the Virgin had been cut off and replaced with a plastic dog head. A beagle, I think. I have no attachment to Mary, but that seemed unnecessary. At any rate I understand the message of the blue Datsun: blogs are for those with no meaningful secrets.

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