Finally more pictures from the Big Bend trip, last of February 2017

Started out February 23 and as always on the 25th June, April and Evelyn went up to Alpine to the Cowboy Poetry Festival, I never go because by that time I need a day alone. I had just got back from Jackson/Savannah 2 days before, on the 20th, had to pack for me, Buck, Girl Dog. Rode with Evelyn in her terrific beautiful comfortable new truck, hauled Buck and her horse Anna in my trailer.


Girl Dog slept all the way. BTW I have no idea why my entries all end up in a column on the left side, will have to get Harold to come and do something about it.

Tricky curves getting into the Chisos Basin and unloading Buck at the house we rent. We were very glad to get there!

Sunset view from the house we rent.

That’s me, June and April. On the Laguna Meadows trail.

After a day’s ride everybody hitting their phones and laptops.




Today was the fall of the Alamo March 6

Strange painting, black-and-white, photographic.

They were fighting for the Mexican constitution of 1824.  Santa Ana wanted to simply overthrow it and its guarantees by force of arms and become a dictator with no limits on his behavior. Which he succeeded in doing. Eventually.

2/28/17 Big Bend Trip — our fifth year

More to come. At the Panther Junction ranger station and gift shop I found this book —I recommend it strongly. A desert explorer worked for (I think) the Forestry service tracing out waterholes in remote US deserts, many adventures, wonderful writing.

More pictures later. This is the first time I was on the Chisos Mountain trails, mainly up to Laguna Meadows. Hikers were endless. We met people about every mile, groups. They got off the trail for us although we tried to give walkers the right-of-way.

Lunch at an abandoned ranch house.

On the Laguna Meadows trail.

Book tour Jackson Mississippi and Savannah Georgia Feb. 16-19 / 17

Both cities were great, in Jackson I read and spoke at the Eudora Welty Center right next to the Welty house — was given a private tour of the house, much appreciated. Saw several of her manuscripts laid out on a dining room table — I mean ones she had edited and noted how she had arranged syntax to get rid of ‘and’s. Wonderful audience. A man named Richard (didn’t get his last name) spoke of his favorite passage in NOTW and I asked him to read it aloud, and he did, he did a great job.

We are nearing Mardi Gras and so it’s King Cake time in the south! This was at the little deli outside of Lemuria Bookstore, They are flying off the shelves. Great bookstore, thanks to Kelly Pickerill of Lemuria for being a great hostess and escort, more later.

This is Mardi Gras staring you in the face. I love the south.

Savannah Book Festival was extravagant to say the least, I had a very large crowd of people to speak to, great questions, much enthusiasm for the Captain and Johanna. Met Mark Hall’s mom and dad, so that was a bit from home. Mark is our baritone and guitar player for the bluegrass group. Got to walk around afterwards and take pictures. Savannah is just extravagant. Case in pint; lobby of restaurant in my hotel, The Mansion:

I will not include pictures of my Gone With The Wind bedroom and bathroom, that is just too redneck. But details were everywhere, backstairs and window facings.

and spooky houses on one of the squares at dusk

And an art museum horse with garden hose wrapped around his middle. Loved it! Wish I had it. Don’t know what I would do with it.

Four of us are hauling to Big Bend Wednesday, close on the heels of my return from Savannah, but couldn’t NOT go, it is a yearly tradition that I look forward to so much, pictures to come. We each take a dinner, so will make the King Ranch chicken tomorrow and try to clean up Buck who is plastered with mud from recent rains and before I go catch up on e-mail and an article for the Amtrack magazine. I am meeting myself coming and going. But no more traveling after this (I get nervous every time I have to pass through security now, an awful feeling) and back to bluegrass and writing and pennywhistle.


Feb. 13th / ’17

A good picture of my cousin Susan on Doc, from last October. The sacred light of holy Ozark Mountain horse spirits shining down on her. I don’t know what she’s doing — talking on a phone? Where’s the phone?

And here is Happy Hour at St. Joes’ the best trailer food in the country, run by June’s son Chris Chism. That’s June and Peggy Ramsay, in the background June’s sister Jeannie and April Baxter.

It was a BYOB evening, warm south Texas winter while storms and snow are hitting the north-east. Sorry guys.

And these are Peggy Ramsay’s new boots and no, I do not have any idea why this photo was so skewed.






Feb 9/2017

Had been hearing a dog barking to the north of the house, down in the woods, along Billy Moore’s fence line, But every time I went down there — silence. Girl Dog went with me but didn’t alert on anything. Finally the third day I searched and searched and found a young black lab, female, caught in a snare. It had cut deeply into her paw. She must have been there three days without food or water.


So she is with me now and going to the vet tomorrow to check the paw. It is cut to the bone. Now I have to find a home for her. Girl Dog never paid her the slightest bit of attention, even when I carried her home in the golf cart — Girl Dog’s own golf cart!

And so I have figured out how to avoid TSA’s groping — I will wear a hijab. I am not kidding.


February 2/17 TSA GROPING


That’s not me, of course, but I have been subjected to TSA invasive pat-downs now three times on my book tour travels, even though I have Pre-Check.

Is Pre-check just a scam? It is no good, doesn’t help you.

I have decided I can’t take it any more and I will refuse absolutely the next time they tell me to step aside for major groping. It is horrible, humiliating, and they always loudly announce everything so the passengers and security all around will look over as they stick their hands into everything.

‘Now I am going to touch your genital area! Now I am going to press my hand against your breasts!”

Which guarantees you no privacy, no way to avoid the horrified stares of passengers — men and women — all around. This has happened to me now THREE TIMES.

The next time I will refuse, they will escort me from the airport, and I will never fly again, quite happily. What a joyous day that will be. Never again creeping unhappily through security thinking  ‘Maybe I can slip through, maybe this time they won’t make me stand and be groped!’

This last time I went through the body – scan and then also the groping. Why? Who knows?

The first time was last spring, St. Louis trip, to read at St. Louis Public Library. Forced to go through the scanner for no known reason, had my hands wiped, and then the horrible groping.

Next time: Asheville NC, in October. The girl at the entry said my ticket name Paulette Jiles, didn’t match my ID name, Texas driver’s license says my married name, Paulette Jiles-Johnson. This meant a really horrible groping by a big woman in a nearly-empty airport who said loudly ‘Now I am going to touch your genital area! Now I am going to press my hand against your breasts!’ I just stared off into the distance.

She said in a loud voice ‘Are you listening to me!!?’ You figure that out.

This last time was going to San Francisco, last weekend. I was ordered to go through the body scanner when I had six minutes to catch my plane. I was late. So naturally they had to subject me to AGAIN the body scanner and then I had to take off my shoes, and then my sweater, and get groped by a TSA woman. I kept saying why? Why? I’ve already been through the scanner! ‘Now I am going to touch your genital area! Now I am going to press my hand against your breasts! And they stick their hand down into your waistband and you have to stand there with your feet apart and your hands out to the side like a dirty low criminal.

And so one of them said, ‘It was probably your wrist brace’. This is from when I broke my arm. So I took it off and threw it in their wastebasket.  The I just ran for my plane to Dallas/Frisco.

I was just about in a state of terror returning. That ticket also just said Paulette Jiles (instead of like my driver’s license which say s Paulette Jiles-Johnson) and I thought Oh my God no! Not again! But the TSA woman just looked at the two and said ‘Go on’. Totally arbitrary, totally up to their whims.

But it’s not going to happen any more. I don’t think they can handcuff you and force you to endure a groping if you refuse, you just get thrown out of the airport, which to me would be a very very happy day. No more flying for me! Yay! I would be delighted if I never had to get on a plane again.

So no matter where I am, San Francisco or anyplace else, I will refuse to let these people humiliate me in front of everybody in a public place. I will get home by train or whatever, any way I can. I am telling my publicity agent at Harper Collins that I am going to refuse to get groped, scanned and felt up again.

And so here are some pictures from San Francisco, the wonderful bookstore called Book Passage in Sausalito. . I did not feel happy after having gone through TSA abuse and humiliation but I did my best to speak, sign books and be charming.

Here were the flowers in the lobby of the hotel — they were really very calming and beautiful and I just stood and looked at them for a long time.


Fantasylandia; Friday Jan 27th/17

Beautiful photo, seems from a fantasy novel. Taken by Sylvie Collier, somewhere outside of Sapa, Vietnam. These are old bamboo water wheels, with the Tien Sa waterfalls on left.  Found this in a photography magazine which I was reading while sitting at the clinic waiting for my allergy shot.

Traveling for book signings. San Francisco this weekend, then Feb. 6th to Jacksonville MS and then Savannah Georgia, and it doesn’t end there. Message from Michael Ondaatje, will see him and Linda in San Francisco, at the Book Passage signing, hooray! It’s been forever.

‘Angels and Demons In the Ozarks’ will come out in Harvard Review 50th anniversary edition, not sure when. I wrote it quickly, short piece.

100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution/ Jan 25th ’17


I ran into this author and his (I think) self-published book and meant to order it and read it but never got around to it. Anyway, he was handing out this postcard; Greetings from Stanland’. It’s an amalgam of the Soviet propaganda images of all the small Stans included in the Soviet Union which are now free of the old Soviet Union and can be as corrupt ands tribal as they like, along with grandiose Stalinesque architecture. I don’t know if that thing with the ball on top is real or not, it could be photoshop, this whole post card could be parody.

I am a fan of Soviet parody images. I love them. I am aware that during its existence nothing about the USSR was at all funny.

There is an excellent and often overlooked book of a man and his family’s escape from a Soviet work camp. I thought nobody every escaped. But they did.

I Speak For The Silent Prisoners of the Soviets, by V. Tchernavin. Written soon after their escape to Finland in the ’30’s. Very cheap on Kindle.  He is really good on why the economics never worked. Interesting. He was in charge of a fishing operation in the White Sea and describes how the NKVD/GPU was a nation within a nation.

And so comrades, read and be informed. The future lies before us, as it cannot well lie anywhere else.




The Pulpwood Queens! Jan 19/17

Was invited to the Pulpwood Queens Literary Festival in Nacogdoches, over near the Louisiana border. April Baxter volunteered to go with me, since her son lives there, then we said ‘Why don’t we take the horses and ride in the Davy Crockett National Forest?’ And so we did.

I read and gave a short talk and signed books, they were great. Women wearing glitzy bling and cool sparkly crowns. Much fun. That was Saturday. Then April and I hauled the horses to the National Forest on Sunday and rode. It was wet. Wet. Wet. The whole time we were texting June and sending her pictures to show her how wet and rainy it was.

April’s son Ryan and girlfriend Lilly had a house and we put the horses in their chicken coop. They were content. Made a mess. Wish I had a picture of Ryan and Lilly but I forgot. Ryan was in the Marine Corps, a mechanic, so he fixed my defective trailer lights in about 15 minutes.

And just for the record here is my great-nephew Ben Jiles and his fiancée Natasha, they will be married tomorrow! In Utah. Happy and blessed everything you guys.