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Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Truth Stretcher?

I cain't believe it, no suh, just cain't believe it. An article in the "Soiled Dove" edition of True West Magazine (November 2013) "Was Louis L'Amour Full of Beans?" explores the facts in the matter regardin' L'Amour's claim in an interview thet he was in New Mexico at the age of 15 bailing hay near where Billy the Kid was buried. Well, well, I cain't brelieve thet L'Amour would lie to anyone about something like thet. Shucks, he was a writer. He made up stories from whole cloth and sold the heck out of 'em. Yep, he wrote fiction mosta his life, western fiction to boot. If he wanted to throw in a little "stretcher" now and then, it wouldn't surprise nobody, at least to my way of thinkin'. Give him an idear fer a short story or even a long story, he would go "write" to work on it, makin' up a lot of time-fillers and narrative-fillers 'n such to get the 100,000 or so words he needed to git to the end of it and make it excitin' and dangerous 'n all to keep the reader on his toes 'n sell more books.

His stories, I hear, were based on mostly historical fact, but he had to start stretchin' the truth right from the beginning almost. The kernel of the idea might have been historical fact, but all the other stuff he had to make up or else it wouldn't be fiction, I'd say. What is fiction writin' anyway? If 'twas the truth it couldn't be fiction, any dern writer worth his salt knows that, I think.

Anyway, I shore injoyed the True West article and all those other true stories inside it. I note that in the picture on pages 6 and 7 of those bad, bad, unmoral women there was only one lady smilin' and one that had a look on her face that coulda been a smile or a smirk. The lady bar woman looked mean enough to fight a pole cat and the others were sayin' to themselves, "Get it over with, I gotta client waitin' for me." Yep, that was fine edition, all right.

10 comments:

  1. I remember reading that issue myself, and enjoying it. L'Amour was not one of my favorite writers but I did read a dozen or so his novels and enjoyed them. But, his book, "Education of a Wandering Man," is one of my all time favorites. He did travel a lot and he did see a lot, and maybe , just maybe, he only read about some of the places he wrote about but I don't think his readers minded.

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    1. Haven't read "Education..." yet. L'Amour had been around for sure and maybe he was a little confused about the times when he wrote about it or maybe it was on purpose. It was his story, he can tell it anyway he wants.

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  2. A writer should be allowed a little "stretcher" now and again.

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    1. Ya darn betcha! It makes life interesting.

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  3. I don't think I know any writers who haven't stretched the personal truth a little here and there. Except me, of course! Me, I would neverrrrrr stretch the truth. :)

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    1. I knew you were an honest feller, Charles.

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  4. I love the idea of writing being truth stretching - though when it comes to writing about myself I tend to go in for truth editing.

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    1. I think most people would tell the truth as they saw it in an autobiography, but I'm not saying everyone does.

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  5. Didn't LL obfuscate for a long time about writing those Hopalong Cassidy novels?

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  6. Yes, he did, but he finally 'fessed up to 'em, Ron.

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