Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers

Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers

Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers

Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers

Synopsis

"Stories about family, legacy, marriage, divorce, religion, all of them played out in relentless weather and under an all-encompassing sky.... These female writers come from a storied place most often described from the perspective of the men credited with shaping it.... This collection adds insightful dimension to a surprisingly inspiring place."-Fort Worth Star-Telegram "A moving and engaging collection of short stories often set in demanding rural conditions.... We learn how the seemingly blank, barren expanse that is West Texas is really a landscape of sublime and subtle opulence.... Beyond survival, anything hardy enough to endure here doesn't merely exist, but thrives and flourishes. The stories these women have to tell prove exactly that."-El Paso Times "The fullness of regional life is so engagingly chronicled here that you may never again think of West Texas without understanding the passions inspired by this seemingly empty land.... The women featured in this collection... focus on contrasts between the young and old, the East and West, the wet and the dry, the new and the old social norms.... This collection adds insightful dimension to a surprisingly inspiring place."-Philadelphia Inquirer "The vast skies west of Fort Worth have captured the endless space these authors love. This anthology... gives voice to their identities and their connections to place and the people who live there."-Review of Texas Books "The 26 contemporary women writers featured in [this] new anthology have one thing in common: West Texas.... All have been touched, inspired, or in some way affected by the landscape, the people, the climate, the history, the isolation, the sense of place.... The essays, memoirs, and short stories included here cover a range of topics, approaches, interests, emotions, and writing styles. Some are humorous, others poignant. Some take an academic approach to their subject, others are raw and personal. The writing illustrates the diversity, not only of the women selected for this anthology, but of the region itself."-Glen Dromgoole, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal The vast, disparate region called West Texas is both sparsely populated and scarcely recognized. Yet it has given voice to a surprising number of women writers who have left more than a faint impression on its hardscrabble terrain and consciousness. These writers do much more than evoke the land and its celebrated skies. Often with humor and always with empathy, they manage to peg nearly every West Texas experience, including how West Texans respond to hardships, blessings, friendships, loneliness, tragedy, and yes, even sandstorms. The short stories and essays in this collection, through a strong emphasis on individual triumphs and failures, remind West Texans of their heritage and share with all readers an understanding of what it means to live in the endless space these authors know so well. "West Texas latitude inspires its occupants to make new beginnings, to explore spiritual response to the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, and to achieve understanding of the people coming and going in their daily lives." -Lou Halsell Rodenberger, from the Introduction

Excerpt

Writing on the Wind is a collection whose time has come. Gathered here are twenty-five diverse contemporary women writing about the relationship to place in a sequence that brings together essays, memoir, and fiction. a few well-chosen words from regional archivist Janet Neugebauer ground this collection of women writers from West Texas and its borderlands. Despite the fact that Neugebauer describes the region as historically both lonesome and inhospitable to settlers, she’s paradoxically convinced that: “More often than not, pioneer women did more than survive, they thrived. Their spirit grew to fill the wide-open spaces, their determination became as strong as the wind, and they developed ingenious ways of coping with hardships.”

Such a statement points to the peculiar strength of female character West Texas cultivated—and continues to cultivate. So too, it illustrates the ways in which West Texas women are shaped by—and shape—the country we inhabit.

Yet despite our presence here, women’s stories are not traditionally associated with the westernness of this part of Texas, with the mythology traditionally or officially told about this place. To quote Shelley Armitage: “There have been histories, narratives—the Indians, the cattle kingdom, coming of railroad towns, the farmers. Mostly, these are a march of dates, a sequential seeing of how a country was finally ‘tamed,’ developed.” the aim of Writing on the Wind is to break that sequence and simultaneously break ground for re-imagining and re-writing the history, experience, and dailyness of a land with its own memories, cycles, and peculiar beauties and . . .

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