5.22.2013

Oh Texas...



I was raised in Texas, but have never considered myself a 'Texan'. You see, there's this level of Texas patriotism I've never aspired to or quite grasped. Or perhaps it's never grasped me.

Most of our family lives there and we make the yearly trek each summer (which is happening next month), but have no desire to ever move back. I mean, we'd love to be closer to our family...just not in Texas.

And I'm not completely sure why.

Is it the sweltering summers (May-September)? The fact there is a Wal-Mart and a Dairy Queen in every town no matter the population?  The obnoxiously large pick up trucks (many with either longhorns strapped across the front, a Rebel flag proudly displayed in the back window, or those silver...well, you've seen them...dangling from the bumper)? The concrete that seems to go on forever? Are these stereotypes? Yes. Is there truth to them? Indeed - trust me.

But this isn't a 'let's bash Texas' post. There is beauty there - plenty of it.

Like this...
The view on Brushy Top on the second day of spring, 2013. The yellow flowers are Damianita and their leaves are strongly spicy smelling. #spring #yellow #flowers #texas #nature #hills #landscape #outdoors #scenic
this...
Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas.
and of course, this...
bluebonnets
source


My current WiP is partly set in Texas. I'd put it off long enough and it was time. And even though the majority of the book takes place on an island, there will be small tidbits that are ALL Texas, a secret love letter of sorts. Because I do love Texas even though I may not proudly display it on a t-shirt or say it...EVER. A piece of my heart does belong to Texas...for better or worse.
My first novel was a LONG love letter to Hawaii (another post for another time). Any places or people you've reconciled with through writing?
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32 comments:

  1. I write a lot about my small town in my blog In Fine Company. Small mountain towns really do have a unique flavor and I find it fun to dissect sometimes. Our summer population expands with Texans every year. There are some good-natured jokes about the stereo types (big hair, big trucks). But mostly we enjoy their company and appreciate how they add to our economy. :)

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    1. Sounds like a cool blog Julie - will definitely stop by! Thanks for reading :)

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  2. Definitely! My first novel was set in Nome, Alaska. I'd never been, but I learned so much about it during my research I felt like I could go up there and lead tours!

    I confess, I'm jealous you have firsthand knowledge of Texas. I've always wanted to write a story set there, but it seems like one of those places you can't do justice to unless you've lived it a while...

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    1. Yeah, it would be helpful - but as with any place I think with enough research, you could get a pretty good feel for it. ;)

      And Nome, Alaska sounds super cool!

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  3. I understand this completely. Born in Arkansas, summers in Arkansas, no desire to live in Arkansas. EVER. Don't know if I'll ever set an ms there either, though I do have some wonderful childhood memories. Currently, I'm splitting my time between Savannah, GA and Romania. Talk about jet-lag of the mind, lol. P.S. I can't wait to read both these novels!

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    1. Wow! GA to Romania? That's quite a commute! I have a feeling Arkansas and Texas definitely have similar flavor. And thanks Kate, hopefully you'll get to...eventually ;)

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  4. Another similarity of ours, doppelganger. I grew up in the province of Alberta - the Texas of Canada (people were very proud of that). There's oil wealth, and flat ranch land, and the same attitude you describe with the "stuff" hanging from pickup trucks. I don't miss it, said good riddance when we moved, and go back only to visit my family.

    Buuuuut, I know what you mean about reconciling. I've been thinking of setting my new story in a prairie town, and making it a character instead of "just" a setting. Maybe as a coping mechanism, maybe to make peace, as you said.

    Interesting post. You've got me thinking.

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    1. This seriously made me laugh! What are the odds??? There really is something to this doppelganger thing...

      And...I'm liking this new concept of yours!!!

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  5. So far every book I've written has been a love letter to coastal Maine because I adore this place FIERCELY. But it isn't where I grew up - that was a small suburban/rural town in Massachusetts we referred to as Mudville. It was BORING. I don't know that I'll ever use it as a setting. The fond memories I have of it are rural New England memories that could easily take place anywhere in MA, ME, NH, VT. Since we're moving very soon to NC I'm interested/terrified to see what happens with my writing generally and with regard to settings specifically...

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    1. Mudville, lol. Sounds lovely. ;) We visited the Outer Banks (Kittyhawk, NC) and it was beautiful. I'm sure you'll stumble upon lots of writing inspiration there.

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    2. Yes, coastal NC is beautiful, but we'll be almost 2 hours away from that part... We're moving to a very pretty area near Raleigh, but I'm going to go through ocean-withdrawal.

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  6. I'm not sure if it's reconciliation, nostalgia, or something else but my first MS is set in Durham (England) where I was at university and the second is set in Birmingham (still England) where I grew up. Both are very different cities in terms of atmosphere, size and history but they each match the feel of the their respective stories perfectly.

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    1. Both sound amazing! But then, anything in Europe seems exotic and intriguing to us American folk ;)

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  7. The city where I live and grew up (Bristol, UK) has only briefly appeared in my novel but Norfolk on the east coast of England where my grandparents lived and Greece where my husband's family live feature heavily. My new WIP is set in Tamzania and Zanzibar so I'm definitely drawn to places that are far more exotic than my hometown! Those photos of Texas are just beautiful and I have to say, unexpected.

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    1. Exotic indeed ;) The photos aren't the norm Kate, you really have to seek these locations out :p But there is a hometown charm to much of Texas. See how I'm trying to be positive?!

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  8. Wow, those are beautiful photos! I've never really spent time in Texas (other than airport layovers) but I do have a good friend there I'd love to visit someday. Setting is hugely important in my writing and I love to set stories in exotic places, but you never know where you're going to find the exotic. Texas just might be it!

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    1. Very true... And yeah, major layover destination for sure!

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  9. I've spent the better part of my life as a nomad. New England and Hawaii are the only two places in the US I haven't been to - yet. There is talk of moving to HI.

    I've lived in TX - El Paso, San Marcos, Dallas - and I avoid it like the plague. But even my hatred of the many things about the state - I still have a few things that pop up in my head, where I found beauty.

    In almost every book you'll find some reference to the Rockies. They are my Zen, my first loves, my standing guard towers against the world.

    As for reconciliation - yes. The book I'm querying is set in Nashville - I spent time there and it didn't hook me at all. But there are some things I DO miss and it shows in the book.

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    1. Ha! So you're feeling me then T.J? I'm from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Enough said.

      BUT, now I live near the Rockies and I hear you there too!

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  10. Texas is one of those places I hope to visit! Thanks for sharing details and picts.

    http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2013/05/inspired-by-beginnings-thirteen-things.html

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    1. As always, thanks for stopping by Mia!

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  11. Beautiful pictures! I have never been to Texas, but I may one day...

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    1. Thanks EM. If you do go, choose your destination wisely, not ALL parts of TX are created equal ;)

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  12. Hmmm. My current ms focuses more on the changes my state's gone through rather than fixing on the aspects I've always loved.

    Wonderful pictures.

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  13. Oooo. You had me with the waterfall and flowers. HA is much the same. They have hundreds of wild roosters running amuck on Kawaii--I believe the birds are secretly plotting a take-over. It's all there in their beady little eyes and cocky attitude. :P

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    1. Wild roosters, eh? Yeah, I'd be suspicious. :p

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  14. So much more to Texas than what I thought... I guess all the way in Australia, we only see stereotypes of what Texas is like... cowboys, ranches, huge steaks...hehe.

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  15. Lol... love the tension that comes with your conflicted feelings! I hope you'll one day reconcile your love-hate relationship with Texas :)

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    1. Thanks John! It's happening...slowly.

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  16. Hi Jessika! I love this post. :) I'm Texas born as well (still live there), and I TOTALLY understand your conflicted feelings about it. When I was in high school, I wanted nothing more than to get out. Now that I'm an adult -- and have made a very happy life here for myself -- I've learned to appreciate the parts I love and either ignore or try to change the parts I don't. I'm Texas proud, but not in the obnoxious, redneck way that that phrase suggests. =) And that second photo is gorgeous! Do you happen to know where that is?

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    1. Ahhh, someone who truly GETS me! :p As for the photo, it's the Hamilton Pool Preserve, but I have no idea where that is. The photo is off of Pinterest. Thanks so much for stopping by Annie!

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