A few weeks back, in Financial Times, Janan Ganesh put in a few good words for literary conservatives Ė an endangered species nowadays. Being a man of conservative sensibility myself, and a novelist, I read the column with surprise and satisfaction. Hereís Ganesh:
ďA dark view of humans, a certain resignation to the imperfectibility of things, is what marks literature out from the idealistic arts. We expect actors and musicians to be left-liberal. When Meryl Streep uses an awards podium as a bully pulpit, and Lily Allen tweets against Brexit, they are doing what entertainers always do. Visual artists, too, at least in the 20th century and since, subvert political authority, organised religion and commerce."
Update:The Financial Times website won't let me simply copy and paste a link to the column, and I'm too lazy to figure out a work-around. But you can google "literary conservatives" and "financial times" and get to the column.
If you'll be in the Cleburne, Texas area this coming Thursday, I'd love to see you. I've got your talk, your books, and, most importantly, a bunch of Wyman Meinzer's photos to show you. I'll always have a soft spot for small town libraries. My thanks to Tina Dunham, Amy Graham, and the other great folks with the Cleburne Public Library.
Wyman and I enjoyed two great events yesterday at the King Ranch Saddle Shop in Kingsville, Texas. Signed a pile of books and made new friends and caught up with old friends. It's always good to get back to the legendary ranch. The Saddle Shop folks put on a wonderful signing. We couldn't have asked for better hosts. The long, shared history of the King Ranch and San Antonio Viejo Ranch made this trip special.
Dan Talbot is very kind to Horses to Ride, Cattle to Cut in the February 2017 issue of Lone Star Horse Report:
"Twelve years after collaborating on a book about the famous Four Sixes Ranch, Texas State Photographer Wyman Meinzer of Benjamin and award-winning novelist/journalist Henry Chappell of Parker have published a monumental portrait of one of the state's largest but least known cattle empires.
"Horses to Ride, Cattle to Cut is a meticulously researched and engagingly written history of the 300-year-old San Antonio Viejo Ranch of South Texas and the East Family, who has owned and operated it for more than a century."
A deadline weighed on me yesterday, so I had time for only a quick afternoon hunt. Cate treed four, but her boss found only three. The fourth was in a huge, old den tree so I don't feel too bad about not finding it.
Why are short, successful hunts worked in between obligations so satisfying?
Here's my little essay on the Dakota Access pipeline controversy. I call it an "essay," because there's no original reporting. I haven't been up there. Rather, this an attempt to bring some order to my very limited understanding of events. If the writing seems too restrained, that's because several days of reading the best available journalism on the subject left me depressed and wary. I hope that a talented, open-minded writer with a book contract, a decent advance, and a reasonable deadline has been spending a lot of time around Cannon Ball, talking to every group involved.
"Even after all that I have done and risked and supported, I remain suspicious of social movements, despite the good they sometimes accomplish. I doubt the purity of motive of those who embrace and carry out causes. Yes, some are driven by outrage at injustice. Others, equally efficient, are motivated by resentment of privilege. Still others seek to carry out religious imperatives. If their interpretation of the Scriptures condemns slavery, then slavery must end. What the religious feel toward the enslaved seems to matter little. Others love the pain of those with whom they hold stark ideological differences. Some take more pleasure in revenge against perpetrators of injustice than in aiding the oppressed. A good many seem natural Jacobins, born to disaffection. They chafe against any perceived power, any state of affairs."