A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
Yesterday's announcement on this blog that the Curmudgeonly Professor had decided to make a career change and become a Western romance author has stirred up a plethora of reactions and comments. At least three people have commented and made suggestions. My brother Steve has volunteered to come up with a suitable pen name, which I have yet to know what it is. My sister Ann says that a three page mini-novel is not sufficient time for the schoolmarm to get swept off her feet. Other people have simply sneered or passed silent judgement.
To elaborate on my qualifications for writing Western romance novels, we expand our discussion beyond yesterday's elucidation of my lifetime real experiences with romance. First, I am an authentic westerner. I have lived in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and Utah. Plus I have driven through all of the rest of the Western states, and played the nickel slots in Reno and Vegas and Shoshoni WY (in the 50s). Laramie had about 30 bars when I was a student at the University of Wyoming and I was only in one of them once, briefly. My main memory is that the bar stunk. I did not drink anything, but walked out. But I have watched every episode of Gunsmoke and am well attuned to the nuances of saloon life with Miss Kitty and Sam the bartender. My horsemanship skills are a bit limited, I confess. I grew up on a sugar beet farm in northwest Wyoming. My grandpa had two old plugs, Pet and Babe. Pet was tame enough to ride bareback back to the stable after working in the fields and I think I rode Pet at least five times. I also knew how to harness Pet and Babe. I also attended Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne once.
Many of my Western knowledge skills have come from watching the John Wayne epic Rio Bravo 72 times which I like better than The Searchers which the critics claim is the best western movie of all time, and also I like Rio Bravo better than the Sons of Katie Elder. Well El Dorado is also exceptional.
I attended the University of Wyoming from 1950-1953 where I started college living in a student room in the hayloft of the sheep barn, so I am an expert on the sheep industry. Laramie had at least 30 bars and maybe 25-30 houses of ill repute in those days, though I never ventured to Front Street. Now the tour of the Laramie bordellos is the most popular tour on the Laramie tour circuit. Wyoming was fairly wide open in those days with slot machines, prostitution, and gambling here and there . No one paid much attention to age IDs in bars. Now, of course, everything is legit and cleaned up, I hope. Northwest Wyoming where I grew up was a more innocent and less adventurous place to live.
I worked for the Wyoming legislature as director of research for about 3 years. The most popular hearing that filled the house chambers and the galleries was a hearing about Wyoming's brand laws. Every rancher and cowboy from Lightning Flats to Chugwater showed up for this epic. About 20 people, max, showed up for hearings on Wyoming's school finance law s. Go figure.
My dad was an expert on Western novels, especially Louis L'Amour. He had every L'Amour in print which I got for him when we had our bookstore in Fort Collins CO. Now I am plowing through them assiduously.
I could go on, but I am sure you are convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Curmudgeonly Professor is qualified to write about Western romances. I don't want to mislead you. These romances will be extremely brief and will probably not make it onto Amazon.
Kate happens to be one of my granddaughters whose correct title for a few more months is Hermana Kate, since she is serving an LDS mission in a Spanish-speaking mission in Texas. She quoted my famous saying "I know stuff" in her last letter home, attributed to Dwayne (my nickname the kids gave me when they were working at our bookstore in Fort Collins CO and didn't want to call me Dad or my real name, which would have been disrespectful) aka Dwight aka gpa (for grandpa, how I sign my letters) sangre. Not knowing what sangre meant, I asked the Spanish speaking daughter of our cleaning lady yesterday, and she informed me, "sangre means Blood." Aha. I got it. I was referred to as "gpa Blood." Thanks, Kate. You never know what gems of wisdom spewed forth in moments of inspiration will go forth to inspire generations. The statement "I know stuff" will settle any argument, advance any discussion, puzzle any know-nothing, and impress all listeners. Try it some time. Out of the blue, just say, "I know stuff." You don't have to reveal to anyone what you actually know or don't know because the statement itself is overpowering and intimidating.