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“The Mustanger” To Be Read at February ASU Elmer Kelton Conference

I had the pleasure of personally meeting Elmer Kelton at the '08 WWA Conference.

I had the pleasure of personally meeting Elmer Kelton at the ’08 WWA Conference.

 

After a long absence from this blog due to technical difficulties, I’m up and posting again with some very good news to announce. I’ve been invited to read my short story, The Mustanger,¬† at the 22nd Annual Angelo State University Writers Conference in Honor of Elmer Kelton, to be held in San Angelo, TX, on February 22-23, 2018.

For those unfamiliar with Kelton, he was a Golden Age Western writer whose work evolved over time to focus more on the actual,¬†grim details of life in the old Southwest, with a particular emphasis on West Texas, his native land. He was unafraid to face the prejudice and ugliness that motivated many in the raw, bad old frontier days while never losing his affection and regard for the men and women of that period or his strong, very Texan sense of humor. Another admirable trait was Kelton’s interest in the Southwest in all phases of its history, from the frontier days to modern times. One of the finest examples of this latter tendency is his novel, The Time It Never Rained, about a crippling drought Texas underwent in the ’50’s and one tough old rancher’s battle to endure it.

Hopefully I wrote The Mustanger in the same spirit. I was inspired by a very interesting, non-fiction book, Black Cowboys Of Texas, edited by Sara R. Massey. Many of the men profiled in the book led extremely interesting lives. One of the most fascinating was Robert Lemmons, the Mustanger:

 

The MustangerHe did what no other man could, alone, virtually without help. Rather than try to take wild mustangs by lariat or rifle shot, Lemmons rode with a herd, watered and slept with them, until the horses regarded him as one of the herd, then led them peaceably into a corral. He rode the trackless wilderness of the South Texas chaparral, alive with threats and predators, yet still easy and without fear.

It was a pleasure and a challenge to write this story, a pleasure since I like the main (indeed pretty much the sole) character so much, and a challenge since basically nothing violent happens, which is usually what mainly drives my fiction.

I’ve had some nice things happen to me in the past, including winning an Independent Publisher award and being published in some prestigious magazines, but this is the first time I was ever invited to participate in a literary conference. It’s a great honor to be invited to the ASU Conference. My thanks to Chris Ellery for the invitation. I’ll be sure to keep readers posted about further developments:

 

http://www.angelo.edu/dept/english_modern_languages/writers_conference.php

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