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Congratulations from Jeffrey’s and the Clarksville Cafe Jeffrey’s 1204 West Lynn Austin Clarksville Cafe 1202 West Lynn Austin GL The ACLU has stood foursquare against the recurring tides of hysteria that from time to time threaten freedoms everywhere . . . . Indeed, it is difficult to appreciate how far our freedoms might have eroded had it not been for the Union’s valiant representation in the courts of the constitutional rights of people of all even despised by the majority they were 99 persuasions, no matter how unpopular or at the time. Chief Justice Earl Warren FIGHTING THE TIDE AGAIN I WANT TO HELP THE ACLU 0 Enclosed is my contribution of $ LI I want to join. Credit my contribution towards membership: 0 $20 Individual $30 Joint 0 More Name Address . City State Zip Send coupon and check to: Texas Civil Liberties Union, 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 L ones, without whose work we couldn’t eat or move where we could eat. Those “other hands” who had to stop attending school to work instead the luck I had in being around after enough hands were in the field. Then I realize the sacrifices made to put me here, and see them work the fields when I go home, or watch them work in service stations changing tires, or. : . . I watch the old man finally cross the street, climb into a bus, and leave. He walks the same still, bent forward at the waist, leaning into the wind even on the bus. Ruperto Garcia April 17, 1981 Ever a Bridegroom Reflections on the Failure of Texas Literature . . . I think we have too many bucolics, too many Richard Jeffrieses, W. H. Hudsons, Gilbert Whites. Now what we need is a Balzac, a Dickens, even a Dreiser. Texas writers have paid too much attention to nature, not enough to human nature, and they have been too ready to fall back on the bucolic memoir or country idyll rather than attempting novels, poems, and dramas. Minor forms only rarely prompt major books, and the lack we suffer from most is a lack of major books. So far, by my count, we have a total of one. Our literature is not evenly minor some Texas books are better than others but none of it is major. . . . in the mid-sixties, [when] there was every reason to think that Texas was about to experience a literary coming of age. There were at least a dozen young writers loose in the state whose potential everyone was ready to welcome. Goodbye to a River had appeared, and The Gay Place, and Adam’s Footprint, all interesting beginnings. A flowering seemed not merely imminent, it seemed already to have occurred. One reason for my optimism was my sense that the country or Western, or cowboy myth had finally been worked through. It was clear by then that this myth had served its time, and lost its potency; insofar as it still functioned it was an inhibiting, rather than a creative, factor in our literary life. The death of the cowboy and the ending of the rural way of life had been lamented sufficiently, and there was really no more that needed to be said about it. Moreover, this realization seemed widespread. Most of the young Texas writers I knew were quite willing to face the fact that they were city people; they all seemed well aware that the styles which would shape their lives and sustain their fiction were being formed in Houston and Dallas, not back on the homeplace, wherever it had been. For reasons I don’t fully understand, my mid-sixties optimism was unfounded, generally as regards our literary flowering, specifically as regards the Western myth. At a time when the latter should have ceased to have any pertinence at all, drug-store cowboyism became a minor national craze. Boots became trendy in New York just as the last of the real cowboys took to wearing dozer caps and other gear more suitable to the oil patch and the suburb. I recognize now that in the sixties I generalized too casually from a personal position. In A Narrow Grave was my formal farewell to writing about the country. It had dominated four books, which seemed enough, and I began rather consciously to drain it from my work. I proceeded to write three novels set in Houston, one set in Hollywood, and most recently one set in Washington, D.C. I didn’t deplore country living still don’t but I had no doubt at all that 62 DECEMBER 14, 1984