Monday, October 13, 2014

Myth, Women and Texas

by Lyn Horner

Every region, every country, every civilization has its special brand of mythology. Today I'll share some thoughts on the subject from Texas women, taken from Quotable Texas Women compiled by Susie Kelly Flatau and Lou Halsell Rodenberger.



"The future is created by the stories we tell about who we are and where we are going." ~ Betty Sue Flowers

"As you move through life, you experience a unique journey filled with many paths -- paths of success and failure, of glory and despair, of luck and misfortune. You encounter friends and family, guides and nemeses. And all contribute to your unique myth. It is that myth which must be recorded -- one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one paragraph at a time." ~ Susie Kelly Flatau

"Our stories are important. By telling them, by telling our real, true woman's story, we will challenge and correct all the myths and made-up stories about women's lives." ~ Susan Wittig Albert

"Myths do not just emerge full-blown, like Athena from the head of Zeus. They're made up of bits and pieces of other myths -- and the Texas myth is made up of bits and pieces of the hero myth." ~ Betty Sue Flowers

"I began to understand that all Texas is an eternal synthesis of past and present, superimposed one upon the other. It produces a feeling of being in two places at once." ~ Mary Lasswell

"Myth has always been male. Forever, men have sat around and talked, and, yes, even gossiped. That's where mythology comes from." ~ Beverly Stoeltje

"It came home to me that each of us carries within him an imperishable core of regional memory." ~ Mary Lasswell

"Told long enough, or granted enough significance, stories became myth, and myth becomes the psyche of culture, the commonly held knowledge by which a culture defines and describes itself and its members." ~ Nancy Baker Jones

"Heroism exists only within a storytelling community. Without storytelling, heroism becomes a cultural impossibility." ~ Betty Sue Flowers

"The myth of Texas is undeniably masculine. Say 'Texas' and what comes to most people's minds is cowboys and Indians -- lusty trail drivers of the sort depicted by Larry McMurtry in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel Lonesome Dove -- brawny oil field workers yearning to 'bring in a big'un' -- football players giving their all for the glory of the team." ~ Suzanne Comer

"Few former farm people wax nostalgic about the old days. No one misses the near starvation, the shacks, the rags that sometimes passes for clothing." ~ Rebecca Sharpless



Every author who writes about the Old West, Texas in particular, enlarges the mythology of a time and place gone by. Our pioneer ancestors were just people like you and me, but in our mythology they have become heroes and heroines. And why not? They settled a wild land, conquering seemingly insurmountable obstacles, sometimes with brutal methods, always with hope for tomorrow. I wonder if future generations will see us in the same heroic light



 

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2 comments:

Celia Yeary said...

I loved the Quotable Texas Women part, but you left out the best one--Ann Richards, Democrat, but I forgave her for that--who became governor of Texas decades back. What a woman, and boy could she say some zingers: "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, and she did it dancing backwards and in high heels."
Another one, when she campaigned against George Bush--and lost--but she said, "Poor George--he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
Good post!

Lyn Horner said...

Oh, Celia, I loved Ann Richards! She was my idea of what a woman should be -- feisty, funny and tough as nails when she had to be.