Why is a Tucson cop standing at Tom Miller's door?
"I . . . I don't know," says Miller, a veteran of the 1960s underground press known for agitating the powers that be (or were) via the printed word. Turns out, the Five-O is on the steps outside Miller's domicile just to remind him of the upcoming neighborhood watch meeting -- not to interrogate him. "And you thought it was because I openly associate with known Phoenicians, didn't you?" he asks.
Indeed, Miller -- a New Times contributor in the early '70s and again in the '80s -- is guilty of having ties to the Valley. And he'll renew a few of them when he visits the Campbell branch library and Changing Hands Bookstore on Tuesday, April 27, and Wednesday, April 28, respectively, to peddle Writing on the Edge: A Borderlands Reader, an anthology of what Miller calls "the best writing about the Mexican border from the last 100 years."
Campbell Branch Library, 17811 North 32nd Street
Discusses and signs Writing on the Edge at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, and at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. See tommillerbooks.com for more information.
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Miller, who edited Writing on the Edge and wrote the book's introduction, humbly took on the task of editing some of the 20th century's most acclaimed scribes and poets, including Maya Angelou and Jack Kerouac, for inclusion in the book. But according to Miller -- the author of nine books, as well as articles for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Life -- it was a far easier undertaking than writing his own stories.
"I usually have to worry about finding enough material to tell the story," Miller says. "With this book, the hardest thing was having to whittle back on so much good material."
Miller included memoirs and excerpts from Luis J. Rodríguez and George Rabasa, plus passages from Graham Greene and songwriters Marty Robbins and Flaco Jimnez.
"Where else are you going to find Graham Greene and Flaco Jimnez published in the same book?" Miller asks. "Together, at last."