And Chapter Two.

I’ve been writing to friends that I’m feeling fat and zen. Fat and zen. 2005 has always been one of my favorite years.

It’s blatantly clear that this isn’t your grandpa’s Atlantis Books. No rewind-and-just-press-play. Take our winter digs, for example. Can you say hot water?

Late Thursday night here. Chris is snoring from across the room. He has this high-pitched ‘wheee’ sound that fades into and out of the thunder. Rhythmic at least. Tim’s staying at Maria Viard’s, our Maria is at Elaine’s, Will is here but not for much longer.

Where’s Oliver?
Anybody home?

Well, there’s Lisa, the gentle Amazon. We’ve been swimming in January, no doubt, but how long can her nervous energy hold its breath? For the love of god, somebody give that woman a paintbrush or a sledgehammer or something.

We’re waking up, making breakfast, strolling around the ghost town. Bus to Fira – phone company, real estate agent, computer repairman, video rental, tax office, electric company. Bus back. Little bit of chess, little bit of Rilke, Rand, Rohinton Mistry. If we’re lucky Will bakes bread. Build the stocklist. Ship some books. Draw some pictures. E-mail some lawyers. Correspond. Movie night perhaps. Santo Wine no doubt. Slept on the beach last night and that must happen again soon. But tomorrow morning is Fira. And hopefully Chris, Lisa, Tim and Maria will get inside of the ?new building? and start some sweep sweep sweeping.

Cue Nico’s “Fairest of the Seasons.” Amazing how these surreal moments continue to find us. And that’s what it is at this moment. For the first time in forever we have more time on our hands than we know how to spend. Hearts are spinning in neutral and it’s a deliberate, calm attitude that prevails.

Maybe any group of monkeys could have landed on this town, flung around some cash and hosted the world’s greatest literaaati paaaty (thanks Karl) like we did last year. But can that same crew, more and less, with those memories in mind, come back and build again, with the gravitas of a 3, 6, 9 year plan in mind? Not beneath the castle but along the marble main street? With real common dirty warm human history oozing everywhere? Without the rush of the Big New?

I like to think that this is actually the most interesting part, that here’s your story. Jim Jarmusch over Jerry Bruckheimer. But Jeff Goldblum asks: what human being doesn’t require two or three grand rationalizations just to make it through the day? Do your eyes glaze as you read this?

Perhaps year one was prologue. Then again perhaps year two is epilogue.
You get the point. Quietly wondering. Or at least I am.

Bottom line: we’re close to getting a building. Tim’s drawings for the shop look spectacular. The book stock is going to be damn strong, stronger and sexier. We’ve got a level-headed rhythm to the admin and we’re on our way towards the Ella Wise plan of rotating management. Anybody want come and do some theatre? Is there a string quartet in the neighbourhood? If you’ve got the talent, we’ve got the terrace and if you’re lucky, perhaps even a firebowl. Business will be good enough to breathe easy, no doubt.

And the best part about doing it again is that I get to be just as clueless about the future as I was a year ago. Come visit your old dirty hippie friends in Santorini, see what comes of it. I’ll bet five, no ten euros this crew can pull it off.

It’s that time of year so I’m bringing back the numbers. To the naysayers: I don’t care what you say anymore, this is MY LIFE

Mediocre films portraying the Turks as Barbarians: +2
iPods: +3. Well, 2 ¼ really. Dammit.
Chess Books: +5
Ligers: Pretty much my favorite animal.
Vans: √-1
Rocks: Count ‘em, biotch.

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