We all need mantras, I guess – stories we tell ourselves to keep us going. – Lauren Oliver
The above quote is courtesy of one of our Twitter followers, a timely thought for contemplation of what we have been posting on our blog here – it began as an effort to keep the fires burning in regards to our favorite characters and beloved subject, the Old West. The three of us, me, Taffey, and Dee have arrived at this point from different starting points and from vastly different backgrounds, but the one abiding thing for us has been our fascination and love for an era of American history that is still alive and active today…although you wouldn’t know it judging by the avalanche of contemporary pop culture and up-to-the-minute navel gazing that goes on in mass media these days. There are many people “out there” who still thrill to the abiding lore of the American West, its faults, its foibles, its drama, its tragedy, and its soaring courage and endurance. This blog, these stories we post, are our attempt to indulge in that love for ourselves, to keep alive its memory as well as play dolls with the myriad of characters, personalities, and historical figures that here-to-date make up the Western lore. In essence, we’re just having fun…and we hope you will have fun with us, too.
Having twelve chapters under our belts, I, personally, have been finding myself craving more of the Old West. I grew up watching the shows of the 50s and 60s, everything from The Rifleman to Wild Wild West, spent many a Saturday afternoon doing chores while Maverick charmed his way through a scene or Michael Landon confronted yet another problem. In today’s world, all of that is at the touch of our mouse, a setting on our DVR, or in a case at the Bookstore. Im not entirely sure that is all for the best. Seems like the things that are precious are the most sought after and now that everything is available, the mystique of the Old West has become a niche market. I guess one of the things I hope we can spur on with this blog is a renewed interest in all aspects. Much of it is still part of our living here in the US – so many people out there live it day to day. It’s not a dead culture by any means. But its not being talked about and all we have left are images and brief blips of recognition. Those who haven’t lived it, who do NOT live it, do not eat/breath/drink/sleep the traditions and history and world of the Old West are gaining traction in telling its story. That’d be a shame wouldn’t it?
I’m just a suburban girl. That much I will confess…but I grew up in a family that remembers Texas the way it was in the early part of the 20th…and that era wasnt so far removed from the Old West that it couldnt boast its presence in the face of expanding technology. My dad knew what a company town was like, had an uncle who was an active cowboy through and through until his 90s. My mom grew up spending half her time on her grandparent’s farm. My husband and I have just recently purchased a small farm with the intent to get a few head of cattle ourselves. It’s not “old west” per se, but it’s stepping into a way of life that is very much a part of the west. And I want more. Telling stories about the Old West will keep me going.
I’m also launching with this post an effort to not only highlight the stories Taffey, Dee, and I write for fun, but to also point you in the way of some links and sites I find, sites that I know probably don’t get much attention except within the ‘niche‘ community. There are singers/songwriters, ranch hands, writers, and businessmen in these links. If you like what you see, pass those links along.
First up is a site that does exactly what I’ve been talking about in sharing media that preserves and “explor[es] Westerns both past and emerging,” Westerns Reboot, featuring film or television shows, books, or museum exhibits rooted in the genre of the Western, both Old and New. Current announcements feature the 3rd season of “Hell On Wheels” and the approaching premier of the 3rd season of Longmire.
For Cowgirls everywhere, Id like to introduce Adrian Brannan “Buckaroo Girl“, a singer/songwriter who has traveled all over, and lived the life. From the sampling I have had of her music, I could really fall in love with the West all over again. Check her out.
We’re also on Tumblr! This blog site has been rich with photographs of the West, modern and old and there is always someone sharing something interesting…such as this bit on John Wesley Hardin. I’m not too far from where he hung out…in fact I’ll becoming more familiar with that part of Texas in the years to come as my husband and I create our life on our new place.
Patronize these links and pass them along. Let people know about them. It was word of mouth that spread the tales of the Old West. When you put this in your pouch, it’s kinda good to know these things really haven’t changed much, have they?