Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Texas Writers Saved My Life

Okay; maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. I was in grad school in Newark, New Jersey (Don’t ask.), and I was lonely and homesick. I went to a bookstore and saw a book with “Texas” on the cover: The Drive-In, by Joe R. Lansdale. I opened the book, and I was home again — a pretty weird version of home, I admit, but recognizable all the same.

From that point on, I actively sought out Texas authors, starting with those who set their stories in Texas, and eventually exploring other times and places as well. I went on a cattle drive with Gus and Call and Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove). I ran through Dallas in an alcoholic haze with Russell Murray and Neal Barrett, Jr., chased by a little old lady with a pillbox hat and an Uzi (Pink Vodka Blues). I was attacked by a rabid squirrel in Laborde with Hap and Leonard and Joe R. Lansdale (Bad Chili). I worked in a print shop in Austin alongside zombies, Cthulhu cultists, and William Browning Spencer (Resume With Monsters). I explored the mind of a serial killer with Mary Willis Walker (Red Scream). I romanced a moon goddess with Brad Denton (Lunatics). I investigated a murder in the court of King Tut with Lord Meren and Lynda S. Robinson (Murder in the Place of Anubis), and I visited countless possible futures with Bruce Sterling and Michael Moorcock (Schismatrix Plus and (Dancers at the End of Time).

These folks, both the imaginary and the real, have always been there for me, whether I needed a laugh or a good puzzle or a short, sharp, shock. I finally have a chance to thank them, in the best way I know how: by introducing them to you. So please, click around on Amazon or Google, or take a trip to your local bookstore and look around a bit. I’d like you to meet some friends of mine.