December 14, 2005

"Marginal countrysides"

In Bookslut's interview, Annie Proulx talks about writing That Old Ace in the Hole and her Wyoming stories, including the one that became Brokeback Mountain. Having just finished reading the former, I liked this exchange:

BOOKSLUT: I had a creative writing instructor in college, in Milwaukee, and I wrote a story set in West Texas, and I didn't have much landscape in it because I didn't think anyone would be interested. And the instructor told me the exact opposite, that there's beauty in it. That touched me, because it seemed like nobody had ever said anything nice about where I grew up.

Proulx: Right.

Especially people from Texas.

I found that about the whole panhandle. People in Texas would say, "What are you writing about?" And I'd tell them I'm working on something set in the panhandle. "Oh, the panhandle! Uggh!" Texans in particular really loath the panhandle.

That's been my experience.

I think it's a great place. I miss it badly.

Roger Gatham said in the January 2003 Chicago Sun-Times review of That Old Ace in the Hole, "Proulx loves to create highly eccentric characters to go with her highly marginal countrysides." First off, there's no such thing as "highly marginal," and I wondered if you would feel like they were marginal countrysides? Perhaps in an economic sense, but I thought that might not be your perspective.

Yeah, this fellow must be a city person.

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