by John J. Miller on November 9, 2009

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

I spent the weekend in San Antonio at a conference of college-newspaper editors. My daughter came along. We visited the Alamo, the Riverwalk, the cathedral, and more. She fell asleep at home yesterday around 4 p.m.–i.e., about 14 hours ago. I need to wake her for school soon. Apparently she was just a little tired. Having fun is hard work.

This was my second visit to San Antonio. The first one, 13 years ago, has an oblique connection to The First Assassin: The idea for the novel was about to come to me. On the recent trip, I couldn’t help but think of the strange coincidence of being back in the city just days after the book’s formal publication.

I often associate albums with places, especially when I’ve taken new ones on long drives. On a reporting trip to South Dakota a number of years ago, I forgot to packs CDs. So I bought a copy of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at a little record shop in Rapid City. I proceeded to play it nonstop for the next several days, as I drove around the Black Hills and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The opening notes of “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” take me back there without fail. And speaking of coincidences, I’ve always thought it funny that I came to know the song “Reservations” on an actual reservation.

There are two or three references to Texas in The First Assassin, but only to note that it had seceded from the Union shortly before the action in the novel occurs. None of the book’s scenes take place in the Lone Star State. But I guess I’ll always associate the writing and the publication the book with San Antonio. My visits to that city are like bookends on one of the important experiences of my life.


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