The Western Writer


I prepare for Australia. It is looming. Like all of us born in California my life is full and not one more thing may be added now. Still, I am unsettled from another clever interview with an author who grew up in Idaho and describes herself as a “western writer”.

We may all say where we are from and what we are made of. I am sure she was a westerner. Then she went east. So at the present moment she is not in the west and no longer under the influence of its force.

Tweeting is of interest to me. I was in Dubai in October and have bonded to a few American expatriate tweeters now living there. They are American’s in Dubai. In fact from Texas, but I don’t recognize their Texan point of view, I recognize their present point of view.

The good people I follow on twitter, the good people from journalism, from publishing, from economics are by and large in orbit somewhere near New York City, as far north as Boston and as far south as Washington DC.

We grow conceit of place. I am a traveling entertainer. I know what people do. They have an affinity for the place they are from. The center of gravity of the American experience is located by the majority of its geographically captive citizens on the eastern seaboard. I don’t mean this to be true, but it does seem to be so.

I don’t mean to sneer at this clan, this club, this group. I mean to welcome them. You are where you are. Of course I am a true native western American. I am born in Oakland, California. I have lived all of my life in the west. I have toured the west. I am at peace here in the west and own the west like some tender freshman from Connecticut that owns Yale.

We are fated to the place and time we are from. Shakespeare is imprisoned at the Globe on the banks of the Thames, Faulkner is crucified upon the kudzu vines of the deep south, and I will forever be held to account for being a western American man.

I have never thoroughly loved where I am. I have had flashes of such passion then it fades. I begin to long for unseen distant horizons. The western frontier of North American continent provides a vast empty expanse upon which I may plunge my discontent into an unquenchable wanderlust.

I am grateful for the space the world has born me into. I have been tooled to work with it, to be with it, and know something about how it feeds scale and scope, how the place shapes the frame of mind and helps to explain the plain fact of why we are comfortable in our own skin out here plopped down in this emptiness.

The west allows by force of space the time to think. We do more of that out here than meets the eye.

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