Saturday, November 16, 2013

Talking about Texas

Larry McMurtry's Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen:  Reflections at Sixty and Beyond, provides insight into the things that were important to McMurtry, such as place, reading, and book selling.  Having grown up in Archer City, Texas, McMurtry was destined to become a cowboy, but once he discovered books, he went on to Rice University and his whole world opened up.  As McMurtry puts it, "In the end my father's career and my own were not as different as I had once thought.  He cattle ranched in a time he didn't like much, and I word ranched..."  One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "First I try to herd a few desirable words into a sentence, and then I corral them into small pastures called paragraphs, before spreading them across the spacious ranges of a novel."  With humility and honesty, McMurtry writes about his own work as a novelist, his life after a major surgery, and his love for the open space and light of Texas.  Finally, McMurtry pays homage to one of my favorite writes of all time - "The first fictions of any value to come out of the West were usually about the struggle of sensitive, art-minded souls to survive and assert themselves amid the discouragements of necessary practical frontier society.  Willa Cather, for example."  It seems that wide open spaces have been the inspiration for some of my favorite writers. 

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