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Saturday, September 28, 2002
09-25-2002 - Cut Bank, Montana: Cut Bank Pioneer Press: Wetzel's Writings To Raise Money For Cancer Research
Friday, September 27, 2002
Friday, September 20, 2002
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Fund-raiser Captures America’s Racial Richness
My fiction collection The Acorn Stories captured America’s racial diversity within a West Texas setting. My science fiction novel Degranon strictly used people of color for its characters.
The Acorn Gathering, a spin-off from The Acorn Stories, is a fund-raiser for cancer research, and it includes work by five other writers. Still, this new book also celebrates racial diversity.
Certain Native American tribes would gather acorns for use in medicine and foods. While many of them began gathering during the summer or fall, some tribes gathered acorns in winter, which is the premise behind the story I used to open the collection.
That story, “Finding Acorns in Winter,” blends together two narratives. One involves a Native American woman trying to encourage an elderly German woman who is recovering from breast cancer. The other involves the Native woman’s ancestor, finding acorns to keep her people from starving during a harsh winter.
Acorn gathering becomes a metaphor about helping people through the winters of their lives. That metaphor captures the book’s fund-raising goal.
Native American themes also appear in one of Bill Wetzel’s contributions to the collection. That story carries the rather long and unusual title “Nachos Are Green And Ducks Appear To Be Blue At Town Pump In Cut Bank, Montana.” Though looking through the eyes of an unscrupulous Indian, Wetzel focuses on the injustices of reservation life, and the problems that still confront young Native American men today.
Wetzel, a Blackfeet Indian, chose a simple love story for his other contribution. Timothy Morris Taylor also submitted a simple love story, with the possible complications of one character coming from a Catholic and Hispanic background, but the other coming from an Anglo and Baptist background.
Despite her residence in Damascus, Syria, Huda Orfali uses my Acorn, Texas, locations for one of her stories, placing the other two in places that could easily be in any town, or even some other country. The races of the characters are sometimes indefinite, in keeping with Orfali’s ability to capture universal longings, fears, and hopes. Texan Jan Chandler uses a sharp focus on a cast of two for both of her stories, but also captures universal themes with those characters. Shawna Chandler focuses on a Mexican family for her tragic and evocative story “The Flamenco Painter.”
I end the collection with “The Last Few And the First Few,” a story that finds a soldier and firefighter trying to repair his interracial relationship, his ties with his estranged father, and the lives that are disrupted by September 11. Despite the subject matter, it becomes an inspirational call for all Americans to bring hope to each other, returning the book to the theme of people “finding acorns” to help each other survive.
The stories deal with many other issues, of course including cancer. But those issues become common struggles that unite the racially diverse cast and show how they are ultimately more alike than different.
While helping with the fight against cancer, the other five authors have also helped me tap into the special sides of us that make us all human and make us all one.
Click here for more about The Acorn Gathering.
Click here for acorn recipes and related Native American history.
Monday, September 09, 2002
Friday, September 06, 2002
After my last few postings, I thought it was time for a funny distraction.
You might be from the Permian Basin IF...
This is one of those joke messages that gets forwarded around. I live in West Texas (Lubbock, to be exact), so I get most of it. If you’ve never been to this area, you might not. The Permian Basin includes Midland/Odessa—George W. Bush’s old stomping grounds. For more West Texas strangeness visit The Acorn, Texas Chamber of Commerce.
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You might be from the Permian Basin IF........
You consider the 15 minute drive from Greenwood to Midland as: "Going into town."
You've never met any celebrities (except the Gatlins!)
Your idea of a traffic jam is eight cars waiting to pass a camper on I-20.
"Vacation" means driving to Lubbock.
You've seen all the biggest bands------ten years after they were popular.
You measure distance in hours.
Your work or classes are sometimes canceled because of the snow, and voluntarily missed the next day because it reaches 90 degrees, which brings on the next point...
You 've had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day....crazy on the electric bill.
You see people wear tank tops at funerals.
You think of the major food groups as Taco Villa, beer, and cigarettes.
You carry jumper cables and a toolbox in your mother's car (and possibly bailing wire).
You only own 3 seasonings: salt, pepper, and hot sauce....velveeta may fall in this one also.
When it rains its the talk of the town for two days.
When it snows it's the talk of the area for two weeks, especially in 1993 when it snowed in April.
The local paper covers national and international headlines on one page but requires 6 pages for high school football.
You think that quail and dove season is a national holiday.
You find 98 degrees "a little warm." And 60 degrees freezing.
You think the only seasons are hot, too darn hot, and winter.
You think that if the wind should ever stop blowing, everyone would fall down.
You know what it feels like to have sand in your teeth...hair, ears, and many other body parts.
You know if another person is from out of town the second they walk in the door.
You've had several friends move off and move back within a few of months.
You know someone that lives near a pumpjack.
You look forward to the Oil Show. And you pronounce it: "AAAAWWWWWL Show".
You have ever decorated a tumbleweed at Christmas.
Mesquite barbecue is no big deal (but any other kind is a real treat).
The thought of an 8-foot tall jack rabbit didn't scare you as a child... and you have a picture to prove it!
You dust your house, only to uncover MORE dust.
You can't believe the horned toad is an endangered species.
You ignore Tornado "Watches"
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For more West Texas strangeness, visit The Acorn, Texas Chamber of Commerce.