I've never been sicker than I was in the month this photo was taken, during Steven -- who took it -- and Robin's Thanksgiving visit to Tucson in November, 2000. By the time I started to show significant improvement, I'd lost thirty pounds and inadvertently spattered the walls of our new home with droplets of blood I'd coughed up. But I still remember that time fondly, both because it was so nice having true friends come to see us in the wake of the hellish experience of moving to Tucson in the middle of summer, and because my illness granted me a strange sense of clarity, as if my mind were shedding excess as fast as my body. I remember reading Don DeLillo's The Names alongside the book edition of John Lennon's famous post-Beatles interview with Rolling Stone and, in both cases, feeling myself sink into the prose the same way I was sinking into the sofa that had become my sickbed. It wasn't anyone's idea of good times, surely, and a period that had a huge impact on my subsequent time at the University of Arizona, because of its legacy in my lungs. And yet I can almost taste the dust blowing up in our barren backyard and see the still-unfamiliar light on the mountains in the distance, as if they were memories of a vacation I'd willingly repeat. Maybe I should find the time to read Der Zauberberg.