What I accomplished in Tucson
What I accomplished in Tucson
I moved to Tucson in mid-July 2012 – and stayed there until September 3rd, 2013. I thought I would give the city a try, it did not work out. I have done this a dozen times or more, I just go to a city where I know no one and set up life within days, and I am very good at it. It is not “homelessness” or “drifting” – or “vagabond” or “transitional housing” or “survival mode” or “in crisis” in any current usage or idea, or social services “he’s at risk” nonsense – it is a deliberate plan to enjoy every bit of life I can squeeze out of existence. It is a deliberate, organized, thought out plan to go experience a city. And I do it, I have done it, and …..I cannot say I will not do it again. And this is one of just 30 mazes I did there.
I arrived with my laptop and a small suitcase – and about $800 – and stayed at the Roadrunner Hostel on 12th Street, where I always stay when in Tucson (at least 1 dozen trips I think since 2003.) I know the owner, and it is a fine place that is cleaned top to bottom several times a day every single day.
Within 5 days I had an apartment at 373 North Wilmot. A studio apartment on three bus lines, with a pool in the complex named Mountain Vista. The rent was $400 a month, electricity included.
Within days of signing the lease I had a table, chair, bedding, towels, pots, pans, dishes, silverware, more clothes, cleaning products – the things one needs to furnish a house. I met a guy at a bar called Venture Inn who took me to get the big stuff. (And to me a gay bar is a far better social service center than any bureaucratic agency.)
I moved my bank account from Louisiana to the National Bank of Arizona and arranged the continued deposit of my Social Security check into the new account. I still maintain my back account there.
I got an Arizona driver’s license, and I changed my address with anybody who needed or required it as one does with life.
I got a library card from the Tucson Public Library and took out and read perhaps 150 to 200 books over the year (I did not count, a list could not be obtained from the library, they do not keep lists they told me.) Subjects ranged from medieval kings of England and France, to the Renaissance, to Arizona history and geology, books on Tucson, and Arizona flora and fauna, to books on mosaics, cacti, architecture, gay literature, history, art, the English language, language and linguistics in general, biographies of accomplished people – the usual broad range of reading I’ve always done. The funniest book I read is by a late Dr. Nicolosi – “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” – it is one of the most ludicrous books ever written – right there on a public library shelf. The most interesting book was “Gay Bar” about a gay bar in the 1950s written by the owner, Helen Bronson, way back then when she owned it. It mentions every buzz word about gay guys of today – including marriage.
Within a week or two I was friendly with the neighbors – we shared an entry balcony – Henessey and David, a charming young couple in their early 20s, Latino and Yaqui heritage, native to Tucson – they taught me about the city. From then until September 3rd 2013 when they helped me take my most precious things to a storage unit – and to the Tufesa bus station to go to Mazatlan – I was regularly socializing with them in my house – and they lent me a small electronic keyboard so I could dabble with music. They also gave me wood they found. Indeed – the 40 or so paintings I did for me are all on cast off wood of one kind or another.
On November 18th 2012 I started a picture book of my travels – there are some 150 hand drawn ink pen line drawings of people, places and things, with commentary, in my life. I finished the book on January 11th 2013. As I do with everything I ever did – I noted the dates in the work. The drawings are vivacious and succinct – the words clear and concise – and there are no errors.
I wrote 137 articles for my blog “The Daily Mush,” while I was Tucson. I have had the blog since November 2009 – in sum there are 980 articles on a 101 subjects. And while it used to be daily – I had grown bored with it mostly, so I cut it down to two or three times a week, and now every few months – I have said my piece. Each article is about 1000 words, that I write in about an hour. They are as cogent and lucid as anything I have ever written. The blog was, and perhaps still is – linked to by at least 2 dozen other websites, all major political ones, and mostly right wing. Commentators unknown to me actually posted links to my article on the Libya situation to a NY Times thread, and someone else my article on counting gay men to a Wall Street Journal thread.
I painted nearly 100 paintings. 40 for my own enjoyment – the rest to sell or give away. Half were mazes – the other half Czech themes and flowers – and one a biographical painting. They are as bright and vibrant as anything I ever did in a lifetime of painting.
In April and May I held an art exhibit at Brooklyn Pizza on 4th Avenue – the arts district’s major street. This involved visits, phone calls and emails to put together. I was “artist of the month,” and they held my exhibit over an extra month. Within a month or two of me arriving in Tucson I got on the rotation waiting list and waited my turn. I painted some 25 mazes for it – all with a pizza theme. They are actual workable mazes of quite intense complexity (see pictures) – and they certainly require concentration and focus to get done.
I created some 800 pieces of piano music – sketches, bagatelles, short works – all classical – and all on the computer sheet music that I have on my laptop. It takes me 10, 20 minutes to write a 1 to 5 minute long piece. They are all rich in melody and rhythm, and they are all very different. My inventiveness is simply unrelenting.
Within one month I found a piano in the lobby at The Arizona Cancer Clinic on North Campbell Avenue because I went looking for pianos – every day – all over – downtown, here and there, hotels, wherever – that’s what I do – I go look for a piano to play. I found this one and went there two or three times a week to play for a few hours to the delight and enjoyment of all. There are no pictures of me there – and there’s no record that could exist – I doubt anyone knew my name. I just walked in – played – thrilled everyone – and left.
I went to lunch almost every week with a man named Paul Miller who I met in Mazatlan, but was a retired teacher from the Tucson school system, and who when I first got to Tuscon drove me around to help me find a place. He tried to get me to be his roommate – but I don’t want to live with anyone. On the other hand, if I couldn’t have found an apartment right away – I knew I could go live with Mr. Miller right away.
I wrote and published a book called “The Pink Sheep of the Ninth Circle: homosexuality, homosexuals, sissies, queers, faggots and gay men” – which is my iconoclastic view on one of the most contentious subjects in this country – and around the world. It is not about the LGBTQI+ who knows anymore community – it is about gay men, me and my fellows.
On April 10th, 2013 I was published on a major Conservative, Christian, Right Wing website with a strong anti-gay streak – American Thinker – to promote my position on gay men: “Gays are much ado about nothing.” Over 350 comments were posted trashing me to umpteenth degree – and I enjoyed poking them in the eye.
The very day I was published at American Thinker – after a torrent of nastiness by commentators – a nationally known anti-gay commentator named Robert Oscar Lopez wrote a defense of my article and views – and for American Thinker – which I read for several years and was a comment moderator at in 2010 – this is the first, last and only time this major political website ever posted a defense of one of its contributors. Just months previously I had castigated Mr. Lopez on my blog – lopez lunacy 2/16/2013.
I had a second article on American Thinker – this time on the statistics of gay men.
I had two articles published about gay men and gay marriage at a smaller conservative right wing website called “Flopping Aces.” I was a regular commentator there – the editor inquired if I would like to state my views. I was a daily commentator on dozens of articles, engaging people on the issues of the day.
Both sets of articles involved working with the editors of the websites and crafting the articles. I also continued my regular commenting on many a subject all over the internet – I suppose 100s if not 1000s of my comments can be found anywhere one looks on the internet. Mr. Steven White’s letter included here attests to my commentary on his award winning conservative website.
I created a 24×36” maze with a watercolor background and a black pen line maze on top for the Tucson Arts Brigade. (See picture above.) It eventually sold for $100 – $30 to the TAB, $70 to me. I had to work with them, meet their guidelines, use their paper (one sheet I was given – there was no room for error – and there are no errors) and meet their deadline.
I created several paintings for something called BICAS – they fix, repair, sell, trade bicycles. They were mazes with a bicycle theme. (The only photos I had of them were on the phone that St. Joseph’s hospital washed.)
At a ‘paint and wine’ store where Michael Castaneda took us on an outing I painted in one hour a great painting – the only painting I really regret letting go – but there was no more room in the van to take everything to storage. After I did that – I had an exhibit of my paintings there, and I guess I might still have some there – I don’t know. I also painted a maze for the owner. (see picture)
I translated and transcribed about 20 letters from my great-grandmother in Prague to my grandfather in America. They are all in an old formal Czech in a tight cursive handwriting, in a dark, spotted with blotches copies – they are not easy to read – and Czech is not an easy language, nor am I fluent in it, but had to look up many a word in my dictionaries. I shared these with the family. It took a couple of hours a day for months.
I made a CD of family documents and items related to my grandfather Joseph Javurek with commentary, for his namesake great-grandson Joseph. I sent other CDs of other family documents and letters, items, photographs to other family on both my mother’s and father’s side. I am assembling, recording, translating, describing and putting into context hundreds of documents from the Czech lands, and 100s of letters, photographs and ephemera – all slated for the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids Iowa – who are expectantly awaiting this incredible treasure trove of Czech immigrant families.
I translated from Czech several letters from my great-uncle Otto to his brother, my grandfather. Otto was for 6 years in a Nazi concentration camp, who wound up as a displaced person with this wife and two children in Newcastle, Australia. The letters pertained about getting help to get to America, and please send some clothes and money for we are broke and desperate. Otto died in 1963, I was 5 years old. And the family in Prague and in New York lost touch with them there. In February, 2012, I posted the letters to my blog, in the original Czech – as a sort of filler because I was very busy and my readers wondered what happened to the flow of articles – and in February 2013 that post lit up with hits – all from Australia. And over the next 10 days I did everything I could to let whoever was looking at the post know – “I am your American cousin, contact me.” Finally I got an email from Alice, now living in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia saying “I am Otto’s daughter” – and we started Skyping every week. For the next six months I would go to the library across the street for a solid internet connection, and we’d talk for an hour – it was 4 PM on Saturday for me, and 10 AM in Australia for her. And I contacted relatives around America and in Europe to tell them all about this – and finally my family is reunited on three continents in two languages.
As I do every year for 40 years – in December 2012 I hand drew dozens of Christmas cards and mailed them to my friends and relatives here and abroad.
In June 2013 I flew to Pennsylvania to go to my niece’s wedding. I was there for 5 days.
And as always – I baked quiche, pumpkin and apple pie from scratch – rolling out my own dough for the crust and slicing the apples, etc etc – and made chocolate chip cookie cake, one of my favorites. I am a very good baker and cook.
In other words, I had the same steady flow of creative and productive things I ever did, year in and year out for decades. I didn’t change one bit.
And I met with any bureaucrat the system required, I made every appointment, I signed every form and provided every proof any bureaucrat could desire – and I tried to avoid them all as best I could.
On April 8th and April 9th 2013 some young woman at COPE wrote that I said I “was seeking services because I can’t concentrate and can’t function.” I might have said “I can’t concentrate because of the air conditioning work going on in my house” – for the complex started doing something that required a hole cut in my ceiling, and pipes and tubes strung from one end of the house to the other going out the door and this compressor going for 8 hours a day – while workmen traipsed in and out as they needed – for months they did this. And how could I concentrate on my projects with this going on? It wasn’t “I can’t concentrate” but “I can’t concentrate because …” and this woman didn’t want to know that.
And I did not go to COPE seeking services of any kind – but Michael Castaneda said I needed a case manager. I met with one, signed their forms, and never met or spoke with them again.
Whoever wrote this simply fabricated it – I could never have uttered these words – not in a million years. It is written “James agrees he’s severely mentally ill.” Never would I agree to that – it is obnoxious to reality and to the entirety of my being. And yet this is what started this avalanche.
On April 8th I published to my blog an article titled “And on the 8th Day He created Gay Men” – extolling gay guys as great. To think I went to some woman hours later and said I was “severely mentally ill” is preposterous.
On April 8th and 9th they say I’m saying I’m insane – on the 9th I published an article on North Korea that still applies today.
The next day, on April 10th 2013, my article on the Glory of Gay Guys was published at American Thinker – where I’m proclaiming the glory of Gay Guys as God’s great good creation.
More so – my views of bureaucrats, heterosexuals and women are dim – I mention my dislike for the trio all the time – there must be 100s of times I castigated the three one way or the other on the internet and in the books and articles I wrote. It is simply nonsensical to argue that after 40 years lambasting these three – I would go to a woman heterosexual bureaucrat to tell her anything but “let me sign your forms and get out of here.” For 40 years I argued gay men were not mentally ill – and that very day too – and to claim I just blithely agreed to it hours later is lunacy.
In August 2013 I renewed my lease – and the complex as a thank you, sent in carpet cleaners. I had to clear everything from the place so they could do the cleaning – and there was not one bug. 3 weeks later bedbugs surfaced by the hundreds – they came marching under the moldings, through the sockets – I had never seen anything like it – and I said “It’s like a Hollywood horror flick” which somehow got changed to “He’s delusional and thinks he’s a Hollywood movie star.” Whoever dreamed this up is nuts – never could I or would I say I wanted to be movie star. I don’t even watch movies – I despise them actually.
The county sent a health inspector who told me that the complex was cited repeatedly for bedbugs. The complex wanted $400 or $500 up front to deal with it. They told me they would get to it in 10 days – and they said there were going to start eviction proceedings against me. But the hundreds of bedbugs were coming at me – if I stood still they would crawl up my legs – it was just gross. I’m a sissy, I can’t handle bugs, no.
I was up for 7 days – there was no way to sleep. I had severe sleep deprivation – which is a major problem. A neighbor saw me and was concerned and I said “call 911” and the police came and I said “take me to a hospital.” So they brought me to St. Joseph’s across the street – and in the emergency room while they were picking bedbugs off of me – they wrote that I was delusional about them. Apparently because I don’t get the common welts and bite marks, and I don’t why that is – they claimed I was imagining them – as they were crawling on me. The apartment complex took pictures of the thousands which covered my mattress which I dragged out on the balcony.
I even bought two cans of bedbug killer spray – overdrew my bank account to do it – and sprayed both cans everywhere – including on me to keep the bugs off of me.
So, they put me in a psyche ward – and all I wanted to do was sleep – and they wanted to ask me questions about whatever they thought was going on – so while I told them I was sleep deprived and please just let me sleep – they grilled me about who knows what – nor could anything I have said in this state be taken seriously as conscious thought. I did not sleep for 7 days – I was out of it.
COPE had sent a woman to my house – someone named Heidi – she claimed to be my case manager and I had never knew she existed. It took her three days to get to my house because she had the wrong address. She would not enter my house – bedbugs, you see? And for the 12 or 15 minutes she was at my house she spent 3/4s of the time on her phone – ignoring me. Then she told me I was on my own. And then she left. She had not a care in the world about the situation. And in COPE’s records there she is – writing paragraph after paragraph about me – and I saw her once – for 15 minutes tops – on her phone. How this woman could write a thing about me I don’t know – it is simply fabrication. She wrote that I was moving to Costa Rica – where could that come from? She also wrote I was moving to Philadelphia. So I was going in two directions at once? This woman just made this up – I don’t know how.
Fortunately, I was taken to the hospital by the Tucson Police Department on September 2nd, and I finally got some sleep. I had even written a note for the police, for I couldn’t talk anymore, and I handed it to the first officer through the door: “I have no weapons, I am not on drugs, I have not slept in a week, the house is infested with bedbugs, please take me to a hospital.” I don’t even recall how they got me to the hospital – I just let them lead me, while begging for a safe place to sleep.
On the morning of September 3rd after finally some long good sleep, I spoke with a Dr. Lambert – and then they let me out right away – but first they handed me back my wallet and phone – washed. They washed my wallet! They washed my phone! I went to my bank, asked if I could use their phone, and I called my neighbors Henessey and David, who were awaiting the call – who then came with their van and I took out my most precious things – my art, the family letters, my laptop, bake ware – and I put it into storage. They only had time for one trip at the end of their work day at 5 PM – and the storage unit closed at 6 PM. And by 8 PM or so I was on a Tufesa bus bound for Mazatlan, Mexico. I abandoned the rest of it – there was nothing else to do. I emailed the complex that I had done this and told them I expected no trouble from them.
I didn’t have money to stay at a hotel while looking for a new place. Nor could I stay at the hostel – because there’s a standard rule that you can’t stay at a hostel in the city you reside in – if you have a Tucson ID, which I did – you cannot stay at the hostel – it is for travelers, not locals. So, I went to Mazatlan where I have friends (both the Hotel Belmar and Hotel Mexico there have ample proof they know me. I am still friends with them on Facebook. I have written a book about my time there.)
For the next several months after I left the city COPE in Tucson endlessly discussed me and what they were doing for me – nearly 120 pages of their 186 page report about me is written after I had left the city and had no further contact with them whatsoever. That an agency I never wanted to deal with – never called – met maybe 5 times at their insistence – could churn out a 186 pages on me is simply stunning – and a fantasy at that. I even sent them two or three emails telling them they were nuts to think I would let them run my life or be involved in it – and all I told them was “if you give a damn, you’ll send me the drugs” – and they did not.
After two months in Mazatlan I headed to my sister’s house in Pennsylvania. My nephew needed help with the building he owns in Scranton – my niece and her husband had a new house – I had family archives to work on – and 150 items that I put up on Ebay to raise the money to move to Phoenix. And I played piano at the Century Club, the 100 year old woman’s club in Scranton, down the block, because I met the president who parked her car in front of the building I was in – and well, I became the only guy in the woman’s club, for two months I played at least once a week there to the delight of all.
And that’s all in one year ….
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