stuck inside the joshua tree inn with the no depression blues
I was in Reno, sitting in a bar, sucking back a beer – not my first of the day – and watching an old man shuffle along, emptying ash trays.
He’d had a choice, I surmised, about two decades before: get out of Reno; or stay.
He’d somehow made the wrong one, I calculated.
And now I had a choice.
I’d just spent a week in the desert, at Burning Man.
It was the end of August, 2001,
In two more days, it would be Labour Day Weekend.
A week after that, of course, the towers would fall.
I’d sent in my application to the 3 Day Novel Writing Contest, along with the entry fee.
Thanks to the week I’d just lived through, I had no problem knowing what I was going to write about.
Now all I had to do was figure out where I was going to write it.
The bar I was in had a honky-tonk jukebox skewed to Americana. No Depression music, if you will. Alt.country. My usual first choice when it came to music. Which is why it wasn’t my first beer of the day, or even my second. And a song came on the jukebox that brought up all the blues I’d ever felt in my life and allowed them to lodge in my throat: the new soft shoe, by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
I’d read HICKORY WIND, by Ben Fong-Torres.
Which is why I suddenly knew where I was going to write my 3 day novel.
Room #8. In the Joshua Tree Inn.
I figured, hell, every writer needs a Muse, real or imagined.
I figured mine might as well be the ghost of Gram Parsons.
It took me nine hours to get there.