Category Archives: Western Culture

Following Maria’s Journey by Anne Schroeder

anne-croppedFellow member of Women Writing the West and Past-President (2015), Anne Schroeder writes memoir and historical fiction set in the West. She has won awards for her short stories published in print and on-line markets. She and her husband, along with their new Lab puppy, live in Southern Oregon where they explore old ruins and out-of-the-way places. Her new release, Maria Ines, is a novel about an Indian girl who grows up under Padre Junipero’s cross and endures life under the Spanish, Mexican and Yanqui conquest of California.  You can learn more about Anne at http://www.anneschroederauthor.com and read her blog at http://anneschroederauthor.blogspot.com Continue reading

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A Fence Around Her: Double-jacking Competitions

brigid-amos-headshot Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. As a  playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of the Angels Theatre Company. She is also an active member of  the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart Continue reading

Yuma Territorial Prison – The Dark Cell and Ghosts

I previously had the pleasure of working with Keta Diablo on the anthology, Come Love a Cowboy, so when she asked me to join her on this boxed set I jumped at the chance. Keta  lives in Minnesota on six acres of woodland. When she isn’t writing or gardening she loves to commune with nature. A lifelong animal lover, she also devotes her time and support to the local animal shelters. Continue reading

NOT QUITE A COWBOY

I want to make this clear straightaway: I don’t believe, by any stretch of my imagination, that visiting a guest ranch gives me any idea whatsoever of the real life of a rancher. Imagine that a curtain is hung across a window and that curtain is worn a bit thin, or perhaps even has a small tear in it— Continue reading

Women Only!–Barrel Racing in Rodeo

HebbynewBioPicHebby Roman is the multi-published, Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her first contemporary romance, SUMMER DREAMS, was the launch title for Encanto, a print line featuring Latino romances. And her re-published e-book, SUMMER DREAMS, was #1 in Amazon fiction and romance. Her medieval historical romance, THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR, was selected for the Amazon Encore program and was #1 in medieval fiction. Continue reading

Delbert’s Weir: Hooking into Tradition

IMG_1286 2Fellow member of Women Writing the West, Carmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988, gleaning knowledge from Joe, her tribal member husband, other family members and friends. She has worked with tribal elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinixt- Language as well as various cultural traditions and legends. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and wanted to create a legacy for her sons. Continue reading

Does the West Define America?

Frederick Jackson Turner

Frederick Jackson Turner

A few months ago, Amazon came up with one of its ‘suggested reading’ promotions that actually interested me. It was a book, obviously meant for students of history, called ‘Does the Frontier Experience Make America Exceptional?’ What an interesting question, I thought: does it? Continue reading

LAST DAY IN JACKSON

You may have noticed that we haven’t done a whole lot of sightseeing while here in the Tetons. It isn’t a case of ‘been there, done that’ because my fascination with this landscape and its history seems to never be satisfied. But our stay in Jackson was always meant to be our pit stop, our R & R before turning around and heading east–on to whatever new adventures await us on the return journey via a different route. I knew, as well, that we’d be fighting crowds, and that my enjoyment of places I love would be tarnished by the hordes of people. When I return in Oct., I’ll most likely have the place pretty much to myself, and you can’t ask more than that.

Whether, in actual fact, we’ve had the R & R we wanted is somewhat debatable. The longed for late lie-ins were cut short by noisy neighbors off on their own agenda of sightseeing—and who can blame them for wanting an early start to cram as much as possible into their day? There also seems to have been endless errands to run, everything from going to the car wash to taking jewelry in to be fixed and what seems like nonstop laundry so that we have all clean clothes to at least start part two. As someone who is used to having dry cleaning picked up and delivered, and doing my shopping via keyboard for delivery right into my kitchen, it has also seemed to me that a load of time has gone to driving to Albertson’s, finding parking, going down the aisles, through check-out, loading the car, hauling groceries up the steps and unloading them in the kitchen.

But to be honest, even if I never again got into the national park itself, the drive from Jackson down to Wilson on Rte. 22 is so breathtaking, it has revived us pretty well and we’re ready to go. Apologies that, from a moving car, it’s difficult to capture the panorama of Jackson Hole on this road. Nothing can do it justice.IMG_2025

WATERCOLOR

FullSizeRender-4Back in ’91, during a visit to Jackson, there happened to be an art fair in the Square, that famous square of antler arches on the corners. I took a fancy to a watercolor painting, a view through desert ruins, and enjoyed a brief chat with the artist, one Russell Steel. He had ventured into his career somewhat late in life, as had a friend of my parents who, upon retirement, became a well-known sculptor, and I relished the chat with Mr. Steel as much as I appreciated his painting. Needless to say, my husband and I bought the painting and took it home to Buckinghamshire, England, where we lived at the time. It was professionally framed and hung in our conservatory for several years until husband and I went our separate ways, I eventually moved to London, and the painting ended up at my home in East Hampton. In East Hampton, it hung in what I tend to call the den or television room. It seemed somewhat out of place there amongst paintings of New York and a map of East Hampton—poor watercolor!

Roll on seventeen more years and I now own this small place in Jackson, and set out to get here by car from East Hampton with my daughter, the framed watercolor in the back. Tonight Russell Steel’s watercolor is back in Jackson, hung above my bed.

Sadly, Mr. Steel, of Durango, CO, passed away in 2010, aged 92. He was listed in “Who’s Who in American Art.’

 

AT LEAST THE SCENERY DOESN’T CHANGE

The view outside our door

The view outside our door

Let me get this straight right away: I realize Jackson is not representative of Wyoming. Back in the ‘80s, when I first visited the town, it was a relaxed sort of place that just happened to have the benefit of being very close to some spectacular scenery, which included two national parks. There were no fancy hotels such as The Amangani and The Four Seasons, no log McMansions, and no celebrities (though Harrison Ford might have cashed his Star Wars checks by then and possibly come here). The shops were still pretty much low-key, the restaurants fairly basic, and there was an air that keeping its western identity was what Jackson wanted to do. Well, times have changed and Jackson is not Pinedale.

But what is the western identity here? What is Wyoming? For a while, every time I wrote friends that I was going to Wyoming, Google would strategically place in my side borders advertisements for land or home sales in Wyoming. Most of these were ranches being broken up into subdivisions. Now I hear stories of big corporations and wealthy businessmen buying up ranches to run as playgrounds, polo ponies replacing cutting horses, and the old family ranches being driven out land rich, cash poor when it comes to inheritance tax.

Jackson, with its fancy art galleries and over-priced alligator boots, has, I guess, found a way to survive. Yet few of the people I meet are, like myself, from around here. When my daughter flew in one year from Bogota, Colombia, sixteen hours and three flights, the taxi driver who collected her late at night was from…Colombia. It’s a changing world and Jackson—and Wyoming—is adapting the best way it can. And we’re still enjoying the scenery.IMG_1943