Monday, October 18, 2004

Texas cowboy author

Lonn Taylor of The Desert-Mountain Times has a great article about Texas author, John R. Erickson. Taylor reviews Erickson's book The Modern Cowboy, first published in 1981 and revised last year. It details and explains modern ranch life and is a terrific introduction to Big Bend.
The book is salted with examples from Erickson’s own experience as a working cowboy and ranch manager in the Texas Panhandle (he was born in Midland and raised in Perryton) and is full of sharp insights into the cowboy’s character and attitudes as well as his work. Listen to him on cowboy talk: “The good, natural cowboy humorist makes up his language as he goes along, twisting it into odd shapes that can be delightful and highly descriptive. To the basic information and dry facts, he adds embellishment, exaggeration and extravagant comparisons, and makes the simple act of talking a pastime and a form of entertainment.”
Erickson is a unique voice.

He is not your average cowboy or even your average cowboy writer. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966 and then put in two years at Harvard Divinity School and a couple of years working in New York and Dallas before he came back to Perryton in 1970, “when city life started to get on my nerves,” he says.

This author is well known to children for his Hank the Cowdog series. "Erickson has been quoted as saying that when he started out writing them, the dog worked for him; now, he works for the dog."

I love his book, Moonshiner's Gold which won the Lamplighter Award for 2003-2004. It is a wonderful family story and exciting mystery set in the 1920's during the Texas oil boom. He has written a sequel, Discovery at Flint Springs which will be published in October 2004.

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