The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Notes from Texas - Jameson

Notes from Texas coverNotes From Texas:  On Writing in the Lone Star State. Edited by W.C. Jameson.  Fort Worth:  Texas Christian University, 2008. Designed and with usual fine woodcuts of Barbara M. Whitehead.  Dark maroon cloth on boards under an illustrated yellow jacket, with sun yellow endpapers, portrait photographs, indexed, 244 pages.  $27.95, and a genuine bargain at that.  ISBN 9780875653587


Okay.  Here's what you wanted.  You sit down and have a personal one-on-one with 14 successful, living, contemporary authors (and the editor as well) about their lives, childhoods, inspirations, literary influences (both native and ultrariverine), disappointments, and goals.

W.C. Jamison, a native West Texan has done it for you and I'm right glad for it. 

First, let's list the authors in alphabetical order, like the chapters:

Judy Alter, Robert Flynn, Don Graham, Rolando Hinojosa, Paulette Jiles, Elmer Kelton (now passed), Larry L. King, James Ward Lee, James Reasoner, Clay Reynolds, Joyce Gibson Roach, Red Steagall, Carlton Stowers, and Frances Vick.

            Whether they read Tarzan, the Texas old rocks, Shakespeare, or Vanity Fair; fought wars, avoided housework, drudged through writing classes, collected rejection slips, or scratched farmland; plied their trade in periodicals, books, theatrical joints or classrooms, Texas became home and a place of literary reference.

            Judy Alter used the Amon Carter Museum substantially to write her dissertation on the Western myth.  Robert Flynn, a Baptist from Chillicothe, got his writing fingers crushed in an auto door as a child.  Don Graham now teaches Dobie's old course.  Rolando Hinojosa-Smith has 14 novels within his "Klail City Death Trip" series, and he writes because his family read, and read aloud to each other.  Paulette Jiles find that writing is not a spectator sport.  Elmer Kelton, bless his typewriter, knew what it was like when it didn't rain.     Not a shy child, Larry King declared he'd become a "rich Famous Arthur."  James Lee, with Matthew Arnold, wanders "between two worlds, one dead, / The other powerless to be born."  Clay Reynolds pursues the ironic along with Shelley.  Joyce Royce recounts the West Texas wisdom, "If rain occasionally comes, will drought be far behind?" Red Steagall listened to the "Lone Ranger" on the radio.   Carlton Stowers continues his hunt for untold stories.  Fran Vick is frank, "Texas has defined my whole life ….", but Fran also can see beyond the river.

            If a youngster wished to teach a sorta course in modern Texas letters, he could cut this volume up into a thousand little pieces, paste them on 5x8 index cards, arrange them chronologically, and start talking as inspired these authors' words.


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