Saturday, October 20, 2001

Pam Houston

Pam Houston is the author of two short story collections, Cowboys Are My Weakness, which won her the 1993 Western States Book Award, Waltzing the Cat, and a memoir, A Little More About Me, and numerous articles.

Pam Houston is also the sort of writer that Hollywood loves. Not only because she tells a good yarn, but because she actually has gone to the trouble and inconvenience of having adventures to write about, rather than just making up a pack of lies, like the rest of us. Hollywood is going to sniff her out. We've been treated to Ernest Hemingway sagas in his minimalist style. We've had to suffer through Hunter S. Thompson's adventures with recreational pharmaceuticals in his paranoid gonzo-journalism style. Norman Maclean's beautiful A River Runs Through It: and Hole in the Sky. The wry coming of age memoir, This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolf. But they're all guys.

Now we've got the chance to see a real woman adventurer at work, a huntress, licensed river guide, horsewoman, skier, mountain trekker and rock-climber, sailor and glider-pilot, a traveler of continents, mountains and rivers. I could say how good her work is, how she uses the back-drop of her experience to explore the rough country of relationships and her own inner journey, but it would take a long time.

From her memoir, A Little More About Me, she says this: "The two best things a writer can be, in my opinion, are honest and brave. In the moments when a writer can be both these things, he or she speaks for every living thing, without trying."

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