Austin, Texas, 1992: Paying rent with a week's worth of tips, in hushabye Hyde Park where gravel driveways greet weathered white houses and pecans crunch underfoot. Sitting on the steps at my front door after the sunset tosses off its violet crown, reading in the porch light mottled by June bugs, drinking a jug of iced tea and trying to feel the breezes slither through the live oaks. Walking all the way down Guadalupe St. on late mornings before the heat sets in, smelling the breakfast-sizzle from Rosie's Tamale House, the damp mown lawns of the dorms, the pink scent of sorority girls on their way to class. All the way down and into Captain Quackenbush's, where grunge boy behind the counter wipes sleep from his eyes and fumbles pastries and cups of coffee into sacks. Evaporating days heavy with time to read and write, dream and design, with money left over for road trips and bottles of wine. 1997: