It’s so foreign a landscape, so clearly OTHER, that it made me re-realize that wow, this is a BIG country. I felt a little like I had flown through space to get there. Kept looking for green chicks in scanty clothing, with the requisite Captain Kirk to mack on them.
The plants are INSANE looking. It’s a very weird, very specific kind of beauty. Best part: A showy little hummingbird, smaller than my thumb, was perched on a cactus needle. I had never seen one BE STILL before.
In Alabama, my mom has little bright green ones with red throats that come and fuss and battle and beat the EVER LIVING crap out of each other over the feeders, so I think of hummingbirds as tiny beautiful vicious gang members who are never ever still. Unperchable murderers, every gorgeous one of them.
But this one? Was STILL,except for twitching its head around all pert and curious, and apparently not even thirsting for the nectar-licious blood of other hummingbirds. Alabama ones are such bewinged sugar addicted thuglets.
This one was charming, though it was having impertinent thoughts. I could tell.
Other Local Fauna included The Humpy Stick Man. He was very terrible. He walked on four sticks, hunched over and shaggy with bandages, with his weirdo insect head at an impossible angle, upsetting me by existing. And humping up the street.
Let me say—Tucson is a GREAT fest—tons of people, really cool authors. The problem was me. Coming off tour and deep in the bowels of an absolute FIRE ALARM of a book with no clear path to the end….I am NOT okay. I had no business being out of pajamas in public. I have very scant memories of the many things I said with my crazy-mouth, but I suspect myself of deeply oversharing.
My mental illness number is SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO high right now. So high you cannot count to it, and you are a very good counter. You would die before you finished, even if you never took a break to eat or pee or think up new names for the UNDEFINED BABY THERAPY ANIMAL that might be a dog or a cat or a hedgepig but is definitely VERY BABY-SIZED and adorable and that you are absolutely getting in August and which is not a lemming because those things walk into the sea and you might follow.
No wait, that is not you. The one trying to not walk into the sea behind the baby lemmings is me.
YOU are the one who does not have enough years left on this earth to start at one and count all the way up to the twitchy, gibbering, huddled-ion-the-corner SIMPLY ENORMOUS number that is my mental illness number.
Maybe you could do it if you counted by tens and have AMAZING longevity genes, but really, do you want THAT to be your life work? Counting to what I HOPE TO GOD is an unsustainably dizzy-high crazy-number? No! NO, I SAY! BE BIGGER THAN THAT! DREAM LOUDER AND IN MORE COLORS! Because really? You are awesome.
Me, I hope to change my PAJAMAS today. These have cereal dribbles.
I went to the Tucson Festival of Books in this purely lunatic state and honestly, this humpy stick man thing almost put me over the edge as it gallumped and twitched up the street with its BUGHEAD set at a thoroughly inhuman angle. Mercifully, it led us to the restaurant where I met a bunch of cool authors:
Also, the hyper-talented MARGARET GEORGE, was on the other side of Jenna Blum? I thought I was the best Camera Shy hider, as I managed to make myself be a tiny grinning-drooling-loon-sliver, but Margaret rendered herself THOROUGHLY INVISIBLE. I bow before her superior skillz.
I had a great time, PLUS I put my face in a positive VAT of medicinally required red wine, so.
Seriously though, the amount of holding it together going on in Tucson was extreme. Most of it was done by THIS GIRL HERE. She is Tiffany Baker, and she manually tamped my crazy down, as I was incapable. We love her, by the way.
This is a picture of Tiffany’s latest amazing novel. I am making it float in the air beside me using the magic power of my scraggly witch head that the ABSOLUTELY HUMIDITY FREE AIR OF TUCSON causes. Tiffany and I are quietly painting ceramic posies in a little park we found, because painting ceramic posies in a sunshiney park is very good for disturbed people.
UPSIDES OF TUCSON: hummingbirds, Tiffany, an amazingly well-attended rockstar of a book fest, dinner with a slew of cool authors, another dinner with a slew of cool readers (none of whome posted pics to facebook for me to steal…)
This is all good stuff, but seriously? The ceramic flowers were the best part. I DID THESE:
It was a ton of strangers, just hanging out making and painting them in shifts, as part of Ben’s Bells, and PS GO READ ABOUT THESE. It is the best sweetest most beautiful idea ever. This was the best part of the whole trip; being part of a community art project about kindness.
I need that. I need some kindness. More, I need to be an active part in perpetrating some kindness, as I find this gets my MI# down faster than anything else. Thanks, Tucson, you crazy looking chunk of desert. I think I love you.