Today's post is courtesy of Prairie Mary, with whom I once shared a bowl of guacamole in decadent downtown Missoula.
Sharon is much braver than I am -- she lives in Missoula. For three years I visited Missoula twice a month, staying in a basement full of spiders and memories of the teenagers of a brash, psychedelic, go- against- received- wisdom literature professor who drove out the old Western writer so well loved by people who thought being regionalist was good and real.
Sharon is braver -- she has many friends and writes poetry. I keep even my best friends at arm's length and still don't write any poetry because I'm afraid of how it will turn out and what my friends will say. Anyway, I'm thinking. I'm thinking. I'm still thinking.
Sharon is in Missoula -- which is across the Rocky Mountains from me, a cultural barrier as well as geological. People are very sophisticated over there and think they are really people of the Coast, the Ring of Fire. They drink fine tea and smoke... well, nevermind.
Sharon is in Missoula -- where hippies have shacked up with old broke lumberjacks and mill workers who live in the little rental houses along the river that the lumber company provided and is about to sell out from under them. They met in "blue collar" bars, which are very trendy among students and attract poets, though out-of-work displaced lumberjacks can get mean.
Sharon is in Missoula -- where the Freddy's Feed 'n Read, a co-op for fine books and organic foods, is no longer and I'm still pouting about it. Commerce is dangerous even in Missoula.
Sharon is in Missoula -- where I used to attend teacher's conferences. Nothing scares me more than teaching.
Unless maybe it's getting old and struggling with something chronic, which we both do. In our different ways. Both brave in our own way. We're friends.