Many of you who know me personally know I’m a writer. Many of you do not. I have been unable to sleep the past few days and have had a huge writer’s block in regards to the novel I’ve been working on for several years. Once I finally slept night before last, I awoke to words spinning in my head. I quickly got up and jotted them down then realized they would help me finish my novel of 18 Chapters that soon shall have 19. You know how you know something isn’t quite right, but you can’t figure out what it is? I was never keen on the opening of my book (not keen on the opening of Stieg Larsson’s books either) It seemed…blah. The words that were spinning were the opening to my novel, but with a huge addition. The book is about women living vicariously through their children….about their knowlege of or lack thereof in regards to sex….about the intricacies, humor and emotion of women and their relationships with others. The past week has once again hardened my heart to many things, so I can take the criticism or rejection if you care to comment. Just comment okay? I even added pictures to some of the paragraphs to make your online reading experience a more fulfilling one. 🙂 And Pete? This is for you!
I have always prided myself on not buying into stereotypes. Living in Texas, it’s a hard thing to do. The KKK is alive and well in East Texas and since Mexico is as close to Texas as Connecticut is to New York, derogatory labels like “strawberry pickers” and “beaners” are normal parts of the Texas jargon. The term MILF could have been derived by observing the antics of the East Texas Moms who had their first kids at 15 or 16 and sit in the high school bleachers flipping their dyed blonde hair while watching their daughters cheer or their sons play football. It’s easy to spot them. They’re the ones wearing low cut tops and short shorts who always climb to the top of the bleachers so everyone can see their assets. They’re still too young to have “lifestyle lifts” or Botox injections, and honestly, if they did, it would probably be administerd by the neighborhood meth cooker.
In East Texas, the meth cook is much like the Native American Medicine Man and it seems every county has one. He’s wise because he knows the law….both physically and figuratively. He’s trustworthy because if you know him, you can be trusted. He’s successful because he has more money, land, property and power than the county Sheriff and everyone knows only smart people get to that level of prosperity unless you marry into it, sue it or mistress it. Since so few kids graduate from this small town high school, being a meth dealer isn’t as bad as society would have you believe. The parents of meth dealers live in luxury, not trailer homes. They shop at JC Penney, not Wal-Mart. Of course, East Texas meth dealers don’t become famous rap singers after their drug dealing days are over; this is Texas you know, not New York. Toby Keith and Randy Travis still have their grip on the musical pulse of the Lone Star State. It doesn’t matter that Randy Travis gets pulled over every few months in North Texas for driving drunk or sitting in the church parking lot naked, he can “sang”.
It’s sometimes hard to determine when cultural stereotypes become truisms, especially when you’re thrust from one culture into another.
We moved to East Texas and bought what the realtor called, “A country gentleman’s estate”: 21 acres, one 3,400 square foot main house, one pool with a pool house, one mother-in-law’s house and another 2,300 square foot house that needed to be finished out. It’s not as if we were a cult or Catholic family with several kids and family members. No, we were a small group. My husband and I had been married for over 16 years and had a 3 year old daughter and I was pregnant with our soon to be born son. My parents were tired of the Dallas rat-race and yearned to retire to a peaceful place, but they wanted to be near their youngest grandchildren. I had no desire to move to East Texas. I never liked camping. I was deathly scared of ticks
and honestly, I liked having Chinese food delivered whenever I had the craving. There were no Chinese restaurants in the small town of Brownsboro. There was a feed store, a Zip-Stop gas station, a Shell station, a Fix your Tire place, a hair salon and several churches. There wasn’t even a Dairy Queen or Taco Bell. I felt like I was moving to a third world country.
But I did it. I weighed the options. I would have to give up my College teaching career, give up nearby shopping, and give up museums, concerts and Shakespeare in the Park. But my children would have an Emersonian education with nature. They would be with their loving grandparents. I could get some baby goats. My St. Bernard could have plenty of space to run. I could sunbathe naked since there was no neighbor around for miles. And since I was not getting any younger at 41, I would have help from my Mom and Dad when it came to healing after my second C-section. Besides, the place was too big for my parents to manage. My husband and I could help and live there the rest of our lives. How bad could it be?
To be continued…..