The Love Song of Larry J. McMurtry: The Last Picture Show

by Greg Giddings, Midwestern State University (Originally published in JASAT) In 1966, Larry McMurtry (in)famously dedicated his third novel with these words: “The Last Picture Show is lovingly dedicated to my home town.”  Both readers and commentators through the years have assumed that McMurtry was speaking ironically in that dedication, as McMurtry’s description of Thalia,…

Notes from the Auction Ring

July 24, 2013 A group of Archer City writers embarked on an eye-opening adventure: to check out a nearby cattle auction barn.  They came home with stories of the day that sent them traveling back in time, to memories of their own lives dealing with livestock.     ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Blackie By Lori Dann She must…

Cowboy Down

by Eric Nishimoto I hate cattle auctions. The last time I attended one was when I had to liquidate our thoroughbred longhorns. They were just several head, not enough to call a herd. I call them “a handful” because they were.  We bought them in 2005, right before we moved to Texas from California. Some…

On the Farm

by Harry Hall “Did you ever look at a cow or a pig? They’re ugly. We’re doing them a favor by eating them. It saves them from having to look at each other. But a horse is a noble beast.” This paraphrased quote from Col. Potter of M*A*S*H came to mind when I heard Lori Dann speak of how the cows’ day was disrupted and…

What Dialogue Can Do That No Other Literary Device Can

  Literary nonfiction writers employ all kinds of literary devices to create stories: exposition, scene setting, description, characterization, foreshadowing, points of view, pacing, spacing, and on and on. But perhaps the most valuable tool employed in the service of the literary nonfiction writer is dialogue. Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people, reproduced…

Ready for Rain

by Lori Dann Promising, almost teasing, gray clouds hang low over the Davis Supply Company on Central Street, but so far only a few drops of rain have dotted the hoods of the half dozen pickup trucks parked in front. Inside, a middle-aged man in a dingy green cap takes a long sip out of…

Last Round-Ups: The Decline and Fall of the Texas Family Rancher

With corporations (and dilettante millionaires) taking over cattleraising, the family-owned ranch may soon ride into the sunset by J.K. Nickell Jan. 28, 2013 Published on time.com http://nation.time.com/2013/01/28/last-round-ups-the-decline-and-fall-of-the-texas-family-rancher/#ixzz2hLdtpGrN   While most people his age are kicking back on retirement, Alvin Parrish, 70, still gets up for work just as the sun peeks over the horizon in…

On Skinny Dipping in the West

by JK Nickell In the summer of 2011, I landed in Archer City, filled with more uncertainty and emotional turmoil than a 12 year old teenager. I’d recently quit my job as a teacher, a stable gig that I enjoyed, to do something else. I wasn’t really sure what. I wanted to become a writer,…

Adventures in McMurtryland

A Writer Looks for Inspiration in Archer City, Texas by Lowell Brown The dusty pickup plunges into the July night, and soon the lights of this tiny West Texas town are gone, replaced by a serene darkness unknown to the urbanites packed side by side in the truck bed. The truck wobbles over the gravel roads,…

Gravestone POV

by Amy Burgess You must be Carol. I wondered when we would meet. I’ve been here since May and I figured you’d be by to see me before long. See how well I turned out? Just as you’d imagined that day in March when you picked out each detail with your sisters. Stately and strong,…