Hortons always needed a rain. Shultz’s was no good if it rained, running muddy and overflowing, running through the grass. Where were the trout when a stream was like that?
That was where the bull chased him over the fence and he lost his pocketbook with all the hooks in it.
If he knew then what he knew about bulls now. Where were Maera and Algabeno now? August the Feria at Valencia, Santander, bad fights at St. Sebastien. Sanchez Mejias killing six bulls. The way phrases from bullfight papers kept coming into his head all the time until he had to quit reading them. The corrida of the Miuras. In spite of his notorious defects in the execution of the pase natural. The flower of Andalucia. Chiquelín el camelista. Juan Terremoto. Belmente Vuelve?
Maera’s kid brother was a bullfighter now. That was the way it went.
His whole inner life had been bullfights all one year. Chink pale and miserable about the horses. Don never minded them, he said. “And then suddenly I knew I was going to love bullfighting.” That must have been Maera. Maera was the greatest man he’d ever known. Chink knew it, too. He followed him around in the encierro.
He, Nick, was the friend of Maera and Maera waved at them from Box 87 above their sobrepuerta and waited for Helen to see him and waved again and Helen worshipped him and there were three picadors in the box and all the other picadors did their stuff right down in front of the box and looked up and waved before and after and he said to Helen that picadors only worked for each other, and of course it was true. And it was the best pic-ing he ever saw and the three pics in the box with their Cordoba hats nodded at each good vara and the other pics waved up at them and then did their stuff. Like the time the Portuguese were in and the old pic threw his hat into the ring hanging on over the barrera watching young Da Veiga. That was the saddest thing he’d ever seen. That was what that fat pic wanted to be, a caballero en plaza. God, how that Da Veiga kid could ride. That was riding. It didn’t show well in the movies.
The movies ruined everything. Like talking about something good. That was what had made the war unreal. Too much talking.
Talking about anything was bad. Writing about anything actual was bad. It always killed it.
The only writing that was any good was what you made up, what you imagined. That made everything come true. Like when he wrote “My Old Man” he’d never seen a jockey killed and the next week Georges Parfrement was killed at that very jump and that was the way it looked. Everything good he’d ever written he’d made up. None of it had ever happened. Other things had happened. Better things, maybe. That was what the family couldn’t understand. They thought it all was experience.
That was the weakness of Joyce. Daedalus in Ulysses was Joyce himself, so he was terrible. Joyce was so damn romantic and intellectual about him. He’d made Bloom up, Bloom was wonderful. He’d made Mrs. Bloom up. She was the greatest in the world.
That was the way with Mac. Mac worked too close to life. You had to digest life and then create your own people. Mac had stuff, though.
Nick in the stories was never himself. He made him up. Of course he’d never seen an Indian woman having a baby. That was what made it good. Nobody knew that. He’d seen a woman have a baby on the road to Karagatch and tried to help her. That was the way it was.
He wished he could always write like that. He would sometime. He wanted to be a great writer. He was pretty sure he would be. He knew it in lots of ways. He would in spite of everything, it was hard, though.
It was hard to be a great writer if you loved the world and living in it and special people. It was hard when you loved so many places. Then you were healthy and felt good and were having a good time and what the hell.