Monday, November 19, 2012

Waiting for Life in Tucson, Arizona. Part 1

Enter Julianna and the wellspring of fiction fodder.

I know Julianna Spallholz. Julianna and I shared a summer together many years ago and in a place very far away. We met at the home of mutual friends in May or June of 2005 in the Barrio Viejo in central Tucson. I had come from Denver via the southern half of the United States and she had come from upstate New York via Vermont and Ashville. We hit off. We were the two writers in our circle of musicians, artists and bums and our circle was pretty much everyone in summertime Tucson between the ages of 25 and 55.

One night Ruby and I had been swigging warm gin from a handle of Seagram's I kept in my backpack. The larger group of us had been at the Hotel Congress listening to the blue stylings of Tom Walbank and The Ambassadors. After the Congress closed down, a smaller group of us wandered the streets like the roving pack of maundering miscreants that we were. We headed to the outskirts of the Barrio Viejo to a house party where the bands played just as loud as they had at the club.

I was in prime form. Ruby and I had passed that bottle of gin back and forth during the long walk. We took a dip in the fountain at the mortuary. We held onto each other. At the party, I laughed with Julianna. At a certain point, we danced in the living room of the house and I remember saying to her: “This is so fucked up, we'll be using this for a long time.” We danced a little more, we drank warm beer on a hot night and escaped the house to find Ruby and my ex-wife.

Julianna and I spent a great number of nights reading to each other. She would read me something of hers. Sometimes she read other people's writing to me. I would read to her. She was a small place of sanity for me. This is truly the only way I can describe it. Sanity. With her, I could talk about writing, my writing, and what I may like to do with it. We talked about books, writers we admired. We talked about things that our musician friends and artist friends cared very little about. Entire nights, perhaps entire weeks went by and I gauged the time by conversations with Julianna. She was then, she is now, and I suspect she'll always be a very supporting, very encouraging person in both the professional and emotional aspects of our friendship. We met in Tucson in the summer long ago. Now, I live with my family in Portland, Oregon. She lives with her family in Housatonic, Massachusetts.

Our shared time in Tucson was short. I think what I said to her the night of the house party may be true. Tucson may (or not) be the wellspring of fiction fodder. Julianna's “A Brief Introduction to Downtown Tucson, Arizona” in Trickhouse is an accurate description of the place. As for me? Check out my Tucson, Arizona in “Ocean into Cotton Candy,” which appeared in Curbside Splendor.

1 comment:

  1. Some of the best friends come from the insanity of young adulthood. I am glad you have had such an inspiration.