Sunday, September 19, 2010

Louis and Me

A friend of mine told me some time ago that her husband reads two authors: Louis L'Amour and me.

I had never come within a mile of reading Louis L'Amour or anything of that genre, but when I heard that I decided I really need to. I mean, wouldn't you?

Oh wait, I guess I did read a great Western short story last year when I taught a writing class and out of the clear blue one of Steven's friends that you would NEVER have expected to do this handed in a wonderful, detailed story about a young hero who got on his horse and "lit a shuck for Denver" and later shot the bad guy at the saloon and rescued the beautiful young lady but in an uncharacteristic plot twist didn't marry her but moved to some place like Missouri and fulfilled his dream of having a little house with a rose garden in the back. Seriously, folks, keep your eyes open for Western novels by T. Ruckert in the coming years.

Yes, anyway, as I was saying. This summer I found a L'Amour book at a garage sale--The Riders of High Rock. And this evening when I was home alone with Jenny, who isn't feeling well, I started reading it.

Dear me. I tried to like it but I couldn't. "Reaching the summit, he headed downhill and then turned into the brush and found the trail through the pines that Letsinger, the stablehand, had mentioned.
When he had located Copper Mountain from certain landmarks that Letsinger had mentioned, and had reached the pines fairly well up on the crest, he drew back among some boulders and waited until dawn."

Yawn. It all sounded to me like an experienced writer with a deadline to meet, churning out his 75th novel according to well-used formulas and not enjoying himself much.

And did you notice how he repeated the phrase "Letsinger had mentioned" twice in a very short time? Any writers' critique group would jump on that one.

But before I write off Mr. L'Amour completely I think I should read one of his other books. This one, it turns out in the afterword that I read after I gave up on the story after three chapters, was one of four Hopalong Cassidy books that he was hired to write. The publisher wanted a "slick, heroic" Hopalong and L'Amour preferred a rougher character, but he had to do what the publisher said, obviously, so he used a pen name, and--his son writes--he never admitted to actually writing these four books.

Which may explain why I got the feeling the author wrote this book with his teeth gritted like a rebellious child doing the dishes and slamming cupboard doors--"Okay, FINE."

And I still don't have a clue why Louis L'Amour and I would be the two authors someone would enjoy reading.

Quote of the Day:
[This was a first, believe me]

Hearing aid specialist: Were you ornery as a kid?
Paul: Not really. Why?
H.A.S: You remind me of Dennis the Menace.


  1. In the QOTD--That's a different feather than most Mennonite school principals sport in their hats. Dennis the Menace . . . ei yi yi yi.

    Miriam Iwashige

  2. Try reading "The Walking Drum" by L''s a medieval setting as opposed to an early American Wets setting. Billy Graham once quoted from it in a sermon, in fact, and I think it's also one of L'Amour's most philosophical works.

  3. The shoot 'em up variety doesn't appeal to me and I never read a L'Amour book either. But I did come across a quote from him that I like.
    "There are only two things a man needs to know to survive. The first is to ask for food and the second is to tell a woman he loves her. If he must dispense with one or the other, let it be the first for if you tell a woman you love her surely she will feed you."

  4. Dorcas, You know I don't know you all very well, except through your books and blog, which after all, is a lot. But I laughed out loud when I read about Paul being like Dennis the Menace.

  5. I'm also laughing outloud at your QOTD. I don't know Paul either except through your writings, but from what you say, someone less like Dennis the Menace I cannot imagine!

  6. can we please see pictures of your new kitchen? thanks!

  7. Changing the subject....I am a school teacher and I had some Christmas program ideas for this year, but we are not quite satisfied with them. We are searching for some new ideas. Not just the traditional program. Has your school had a program in the past that you especially liked and wouldn't mind sharing. We are from GA, so I'm sure it wasn't seen by our local folks. Lol. Would appreciate any suggestions from anyone. Thanks.

  8. Actually he only repeated the phrase once.

  9. Anonymous--You are a good editor and absolutely correct.

  10. Read "The lonesome gods" or Last of the Breed"