The novel of the homestead cabin writes itself.
It was a prologue of possibilities, of quails and tarantulas and Joshua tree groves and sunshine. Since then, its chapters, experienced at a 2,500-mile distance, waver between comedy and tragedy and tearjerker, with the love of my life, the cabin, being both beautiful and ugly, stoic and needy, a magnet . . . → Read More: Enter My House Justified; or, Skirmish at the Old Homestead Cabin
To Hell or the Pecos, by Patrick Dearen, is a fast-paced western that had me flipping the virtual pages on my iPad as fast as my finger could swipe. (Oh, I was riding a bucking bronco at the time, and shooting at bandits to save a rancher’s daughter. Just so you know I’m not a total . . . → Read More: Galloping To Hell or the Pecos; or, One Bucko’s Review of a Novel of Pursuit, Redemption, and River Crossings
I type these very words on land I recently purchased. “Land” is the glint in the eyes of Glenn Ford in Cimarron. The glow on the faces of pioneers racing their wagons to stake their claim. It was both a glow and a glint in my heart for a year and a half–and I couldn’t stand . . . → Read More: Home on the Range; or, Prologue–Getting Western in a Homestead Cabin
Writing a novel is hard work. Writing a good western can be even more daunting: westerns, which tend to have plotlines so well traveled you can drive a wagon train through them, nonetheless require historical specificity and a protagonist who typifies rugged individuality—laconic and gimlet-eyed from the start or in a dude-to-hero arc.
So whenever I read . . . → Read More: Writing the High Country; or, Author Larry Bjornson on His Western, Wide Open
I get two questions every day as I ride the high country writing a novel (don’t ask about progress, please),
as I work hard (thank you, all the editors I work for–if I could, I would buy you all cayuses),
and as I look for awesome land to purchase out west for my own little rancheroo . . . → Read More: On the Fringe; or, Wearing the West
The West has something for everyone on Valentine’s Day…
For the breast-loving bucko or buckarette (but be respectful–Hannie Caulder is primed for vengeance)
Raquel Welch in Hannie Caulder, 1971
For the beefcake-loving buckarette or bucko (but if you want him to do anything but pose, he’ll have to put . . . → Read More: How the Western Heart Is Won; or, Happy Valentine’s Day in Cowboylands
Westerns = Greek drama. And shut up, Aeschylus is so not rolling in his grave.
He’d have appreciated the golden-boy good looks of John Wayne in John Ford’s Stagecoach and the film’s subtle yet sharp critique on so-called civilized society–the stagecoach journey as a vehicle for a development of a humane community that cannot survive in . . . → Read More: Men Will Be Men and Women Will Be Women; or, The Sexual Frontier of Epic Westerns
The stirring, swelling strains of Cimarron (1960), directed by Anthony Mann, music by Franz Waxman, make me want to chop wood and haul water and ride fast horses over wide plains and watch over cattle in the cold moonlight night and sweep a woman into my arms. It’s that insidious. This score would trick anyone into becoming . . . → Read More: Music and the Western; or, The New West’s Bittersweet Lesson
The woodwinds and brass crescendo, a chorus of voices swells in epic awesomeness. And “epic” is the target word in 1960′s Cimarron, directed by Anthony Mann et al, a frontier saga that swells with its own importance from the opening credits. Full disclosure: I have not yet completed watching this film. Why? Because I have . . . → Read More: Following the Soundtrack of Dreams; or, Franz Waxman’s Cimarron
Writers are badasses. They have to be. The stereotype of a writer is a coffee-shop-writing fop in a cravat not needing to cling to a 9-to-5 job, but honestly, to get images to incarnate as black-and-white correctly spelled prose between a front and back cover with ISBN number, and read and critiqued and/or praised by more . . . → Read More: Of Western Writing and Dreaming; or, William Post’s The Mystery of Table Mountain