My trip to Las Vegas turned into a trip to Arizona. These things happen.
I have feelings about Arizona. I don’t have feelings about every state in the union. I have no feelings about North Carolina, for example. I’m neutral on North Carolina. I’m sure she’s lovely, but I’ve never been, so I can’t say. Arizona is not a state I’m neutral about because I actually lived in Arizona for a minute and that time was rather remarkable. I lived in Bisbee, an old copper mining town nearish to Tucson. I went to a rodeo. I wrote a play. And I was married back then.
Speaking about my marriage is something I don’t do on PaperGirl for a variety of reasons. These reasons include:
– valuing my and my former spouse’s privacy on the matter
– not wanting to be the chick who writes about her divorce
– ain’t nobody’s bidness, anyhoo
However, the facts are the facts: I was in Bisbee because my ex-husband, an Army Reservist, was stationed near there. Everyone thought time in warm Arizona would be good for my health: when I touched down in Tucson I was still skeletal from my illness, though by then I did have more hair, yay. We all thought Arizona would be smart for the marriage, also: my then-husband and I desperately needed face time that did not take place in a hospital. We rented a small house in Bisbee. We had a car. I read Great Expectations. We did okay.
The town of Bisbee was — and surely still is — full of aging hippies, recovering drug addicts, and aspiring artist-types. I liked everyone I met. And I liked my routine. Each morning very early, after [REDACTED] would get up and drive to the base, I would rise and pack a modest lunch. I would wrap myself in several layers, as it can be quite cold in the mountains before sunrise. Our little house was at the top of a long, alarmingly steep hill. I would make the slow trek down with my knapsack, lunch and notebook nestled inside. Through the small town I would go, for that was the only way to go. There’s just the one street in Bisbee (see photo.) The sun would glint off the windows and no one was about. It was just me and my busted body, my troubled relationship, and the desert.
And at the end of the street, there was a good coffee shop and across the street from the good coffee shop was The Copper Queen Library. I went there every day to work (a little) and write (a lot) and I wrote most of my one-woman show upstairs at one of the big reading tables. I swear, when I think of Bisbee, I taste copper, or iron, or blood. This is my Arizona.
I’ll be in Phoenix on Sunday.