My friend Bill was just in town showing some of his short films. Seeing him again reminded me of how we first met. 12 years ago I was seriously in to reading zines. These were sort of photocopy style blogs of the day. People would write about music or politics or art or travel or personal diary style, photocopy them & sell them for a dollar at music shows or through other zines. I came across a very beautiful and heartbreaking zine called: Dream whip. It was a quarter size, but filled with the loveliest of insights and the most gorgeously sad style of writing. I always wondered about this guy who wrote these words and drew these pictures.
Two years later, as my marriage was falling a part, I came across a familiar name in a music magazine. It was Bill, the author of Dreamwhip, advertising to bands that might want to book shows in his town of Lubbock, Texas. There was a phone number listed. I got off work at 11:00pm and by midnight I was home calling that number. He answered at 2:00 am Lubbock time and did not think it odd me calling out of the blue in the middle of the night. We talked for two hours that night and then about 100 hours total on subsequent nights. He sent me newer issues of his zine; a tape of music his band recorded, VHS tapes of films he had made and a friendship was born.
This continued for 2 or 3 years until it finally came time to meet in person. He was making a film about Canada, beginning on one end of the country in New Foundland and ending it in Vancouver, where we decided to meet. I was working in a hotel at the time and got travel related perks, so I told him to meet me at the Vancouver helipad, I was taking a helicopter over. I was so nervous, I could barely enjoy the flight over all the islands between Seattle & Vancouver, but once we met it was like I had known him forever.
He showed me underground sites of Vancouver, then we ferried over to Nanaimo where we met a strange girl who immediately offered to let us sleep on her couch. We then headed over to Victoria and slept in a Provincial Park. We forgot to buy food before getting in to the woods, but luckily he had a can of soup in his truck that we had to pry open with a pocketknife & cook on the open fire, still in the can. By this time, we were starving, so it was the best can of soup ever. On our way back to the camp from brushing our teeth, we heard a noise of a wild animal and Bill took off like dog on fire. Later, trying to sleep in the tent, we swear he heard a bear run through the campsite.
On this trip, I got to learn more about Billís phobias and irrational fears. He is afraid to fly, so he drives everywhere. He is also afraid to drive over bridges and to drive on the highway, so he takes the long way everywhere he goes. He also cannot stay in one place for very long, so he is basically constantly traveling, logging thousands of miles on his tripometer. He will seek out the loneliest towns that have been long abandoned and will discover the most amazing places in every forgotten corner of the universe.
We ended our visit with him staying with me in Seattle and he showed me things about the city I would have never learned on my own.
It has been 10 years since I called him that fateful late night and although we only talk about once a year these days, I am certain I will know him forever.
Here is an example of his drawing: