Tucson Success Stories: Bob Purvis

Bob Purvis was born and raised in Arizona. His parents met at a rodeo dance. He was the Don Bolles fellow and 2004 Sherman R. Miller award winner for outstanding undergraduate journalist of the year in the University of Arizona journalism department. He wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper for several years until he tired of chasing ambulances. He is writing again both personally and professionally after a trying years-long vision quest. Tune in next week for the stunning conclusion to this special two-part episode.

Photo: courtesy of Sam Macon

Natasha Stagg: What are you up to lately?

Bob Purvis: I have been taking on any number of odd jobs and freelance writing gigs as I drive around America hanging out with my friends and listening to music. I have spent a lot of the time on the beach and developed a nice tan. I have been mending a broken heart piece and getting my head straightened out. Both projects are moving along slowly but surely. I have also been running out of money and so have taken a full time job writing for an online magazine which starts in November.

NS: Do you miss Tucson?

BP: I am writing this from Tucson while I sell off the remnants of a storage locker. I am on my way to Los Angeles to housesit for a month and write with my partner Sam Macon. Then I will drive back to Milwaukee in time to wear long coats and watch football on Sundays.

NS: What are you reading?

BP: My friend Faythe Levine gave me a copy of Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt, a collection of poetry by Richard Brautigan, which I enjoyed because I have indeed had a witch bloom like a highway across my mouth. The Selected Writings of Juan Ramon Jimenez also delivers the goods.

I started reading City of Quartz by Mike Davis in anticipation of the Los Angeles stay but am pretty sure I won’t finish it and will watch Chinatown again instead.

NS: Suggest something to do in Tucson.

BP: Leave and return. Make a friend. Sing. Dance.

NS: Suggest something to read.

BP: Dan Arnold’s blog is a great compendium of word, image and sound. I love the way he writes and he punches harder than anyone I know. Underworld by Don Delillo is a tremendous read and it has great Tucson bits in there. N. Scott Momaday blows me away, I just read In the Bear’s House and it made me sad that I missed him when he was teaching at the U of A.

I met Bill Daniel this summer while he was showing Sonic Orphans, his killer found collection of music film at my friend Aaron’s Sky High skate shop in Milwaukee. He made a great documentary called: Who is Bozo Texino? about one of the oldest railroad graffiti images and it’s mythical originator. The accompanying zine is a must have, and also has a great Tucson story.

Lastly, bathroom graffiti is a great way to find out who rules, sucks,
or is a slut and what number to call for a good time.

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