Friday, September 19, 2008



I live in the desert.

I have moved many times over the years, many times. Lived all over the west.
I leave it for a time. But I come back.
My parents came from Midland,Michigan.
They had eloped to the Arizona desert in the late sixties.
Full of love for each other and a strong desire for new experiences.
They packed a trailer and drove for several days.
Until they reached Scottsdale,Az. It was everything to them. They set up life here. They went against what life was like for them in Midland.
They needed and wanted more.

They got a small house,horses, and a big Afghan hound.
They loved the desert. It was opposite of everything they grew up with.
It was big and vast.
Hot and bright.
It was optimistic.

They had my sister.

Some family followed them out to the West.
My uncle. My grandfather.

I have been told that it was the best of times.
Riding horses, new love, new family.
All under the Arizona sun.

My father died New Years's Day in 71. Car crash.

I was born a few months after.

Never met him.

What I do know. Is that we share the love of the desert.
The bright sun, dry heat, and vast open spaces.

I love desert drives. After a good rain is best. Put down the windows.
Turn on the radio, and drive. Drive as fast as I can.

I like early morning in the desert. Before the sun rises.
A crispness in the air. Fall is the best-because it has that late night chill to it. It drops off of you when the sun comes up.

In Junior High I was a wild child.
Stole cars, discovered alcohol, and was finger tapping for cigarettes.
At the time we lived in Reno, Nevada.
My favorite passion was being out all night.
Searching for that early morning sunrise with that cold chill.
I remember one night in particular. I always will. I had just bought U2's Joshua Tree album for a friend. His name was Travis. We hadn't known each other very long. We ran in different circles at school.
But we liked each others company.
We shared two classes. I believe we have all had this type of friend. That person that you clicked with in classes, or detention. But you didn't run with.
A "Breakfast Club" kind of situation.

It was his birthday. I was the one friend that decided to spend the night. His father was cool, but a heavy drinker.
By eight his father was fast asleep on the couch.
We took the car keys,some beer, and the tape that I had bought him.

We spent all night driving his dad's car out in the desert,listening to U2. Drinking, talking, and not a care in the world. Purely living in the moment. We parked the car before sunrise and watched the sun come up.

I felt free, optimistic, and unruly.

The thought of my father,long drives in the desert, and the "Joshua Tree" album still make me feel this way.

Thinking about taking a long drive this weekend.
Take my girl, my camera, and some solid music.

Talk soon.

10 comments:

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Okay this is going to sound crazy but I found your blog through another blog of a friend and fell in love, well, with your work and sites, not you personally, not yet (just kidding). I've been on your sites off and on all day. I had been looking for personal info. about you (bio for example, I'm not a stalker I promise) and was showing my husband your shadowboxes trying to figure out how to make the box itself when your new post popped up with your family story. Kinda weird, like my subconscious was looking for it all day. Anyway, just had to tell you I love, love, love your work - can't tell whose is whose Jack's or Cat's, but love it all.

Do you make your own shadowbox frames? I would most definitely take a class if you ever came out to the L.A. area - Zinnia's in Pasadena often invites artists to come teach, maybe you could check it out. Pasadena is a very artsy place. Okay, I'm leaving I promise. Thanks for the inspiration today - I'm an old graphic design artist looking for a new life altered art and I need all the inspiration I can get!
Marsha

Heartinmyhand said...

Mike, love hearing about your rebel side. My son's name is Travis. Need I say more

Lindsey Michaelree said...

Love the story Mike, thanks for sharing!

This blogging world really makes people open up, I find myself growing everyday. It is so cool that you shared!

Paris Cowgirl said...

Great story Mike! You certainly have had an interesting life so far!

Anonymous said...

thanks for that, Mike.
Some amazing imagery in your words. and emotion.
I can only imagine what it's like to drive on the desert, but I can completely relate with the connection to the terrain around you and with waiting for the sunrise...the feel of the land. I grew up in the middle of the Canadian prairie (what I used to define as the "middle of nowhere, where nothing ever happens"; both terrible and complete bliss for teenage angst. I lived in a place where people say "where you watch your dog run away for three days" (flat as a board), but where it's also two thirds sky. So that does something to you. This mix, there are so many songs that trigger similar memories for me to. Summer romances, deep poetic angst sometimes shared in the company of other like-souls, sometimes in the company of a few, or rolling a few. You made me remember my own litmus years--iconic film influences like "Fast TImes at Ridgemont High", "RIver's Edge", "The OUtsiders" (Oh, the crush I had on Dally!)...Drive-ins (partying off the back of a pick-up truck parked backwards), many a' camp fire...howling at the moon. It'll always be part of who we were: pathos, confusion, such intensity. I'd never want to live through all that again, but I'm sure glad I did ;) Here's to our wild years, and the fodder that gave bloom to such beauty and creativity to last a lifetime. Woot! :) lisa in spain

Road Trip With Ruby said...

This post brought out another talent of yours...storytelling. I was right there with you. I find your observations and your outlook in life in general extremely compelling. You're an interesting guy, my friend. I'm really glad I know ya!
My Dad died 11 days before my 1st b-day, so I understand what it's like to grow up without that influence.

Maija said...

Thanks for the beautiful story of a wonderful life! (Naughty boy!)

Debra Mc said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us, Mike.
I miss you and your classes.
Deb in MN

Audrey said...

Mike,
I want to go HOME! You made me miss Tucson so much! I love the cool crisp desert mornings. They are the best antidote to what ails you!
Audrey

Jack and Cat Curio said...

Thanks everyone for your comments!

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