M is for Paul Mirocha, the most multi-talented collaborator I’ve ever worked with. And perhaps the one who has had the patience to work with me over the most years.
We began to work together in 1983 or 1984 in the Office of Arid Lands Studies, and that evolved into co-contributing to Gathering the Desert. I was always sad that because they thought of Paul as “an illustrator” of a writer’s work – not the full collaborator that he was – that we couldn’t put his name on the Burroughs Medal for nature writing.
We need to sweep such inequities away, especially because that’s never how Paul or I thought of the project. Since, he’s gone on to design or offer art to most every conservation initiative in Tucson if not in Arizona; has offered Barbara Kingsolver art for several of her best-selling books; has released mandolin duet cds; and written his on essay on the desert murals of Tucson and Ajo in our anthology, The Nature of Desert Nature.
Last night he called us (I was cooking) and said that his family was evaluating ways to host or help Afghan refugees. That’s the kind of guy he is. We love him for it.