It's one thing to make a point, and it's another to ask for a favor, but it's something completely different to be able to figure out how people function. Writing without insight is nothing but journalism, right?
When I was 10 years old my mother left my father. He was working for the CIA in , older guy, 63. The CIA wasn't too happy with him, either, so Skipper grabbed me and my sisters, 10, 8 and 6 and the dog and we jumped in a red Audi station wagon and spent two years driving around te Middle East and Europe while the CIA and my mother posted "wanted" notices in the Herald Tribune. I got kicked out of Spain at 15 for being a one-person crime wave, and then dropped out of high school in the U.S. in February and went to work as an editorial assistant at at 16. If I tried to fill in more details, I would feel like a modern , full of lies and deception, but my life since then has been a rocket ride that will only make sense when I am in prison and have the time to write it all down, story by story. But I can sum up honestly that I have always been terrified, as any man admits to himself but rarely to others, so a smile became my defense, and only a genuine smile works as a defense, and everywhere I go, in the dustiest crossroads of the Congo or the wettest crosscurrents of the , people step out of the shadows to grasp my hand and say: "I have a secret, and I want you to know it," and that's the beautiful truth.
But even having just written this, my eyes roll and an inner voice tells me to just shut up and keep asking questions rather than volunteer my answers. People are always eager to meet me, and we spend two hours together chatting over chai, and sometime maybe two weeks later it occurs to them that they did not find out one thing about me. My feelings, yes, but these are sensed and not told. The facts? Nothing. I am 100% curious about them, their inner tickings and unexpressed fears, and the art of understanding your surroundings is the act of exploring where you are, right? So I ask questions, and nobody stops talking.
But instinct is always the coolest jewel. Intuition smokes wisdom, every time. A sense of where you are is always so much more valuable than what you think, in my book, anyway. So it's great to see you spill it and be right on target. All by myself, I choose to stay in school, always. That means avoiding any institution that charges money for knowledge. So, yes, you figured me out.
-- from a correspondence with Bhu Sullivan in Montana