The in-laws are a steady, insistent, increasingly frantic chorus of disapproval over her plans. But, Mary! How can you expect to go to college and take good care of a husband and a baby?
Finally, We're going to put our foot
She knows that somehow she has got to
extricate herself from these sappy folks.
from All But the Waltz, reprinted
in The Stories That Shape
What do the writers
Patricia Nelson Limerick, Terry Tempest Williams, Judith Freeman
and Judith Barrington have in common? Each has been shaped by a
Western landscape and a regional culture, although the impact is
expressed in wildly different ways. It takes courage to tell
stories where there has been silence before, editor Teresa Jordan
tells us in her introduction to this masterful collection of
essays, The Stories That Shape us: Contemporary Women Write about
the West . From Mary Clerman Blew, the Montanan who went on to
combine motherhood with a doctorate in English literature, to
Kathleen Norris, a poet who celebrates rural isolation and
community in South Dakota, 26 writers explore how women have
struggled to understand the West they were born into or chose. This
diverse collection is co-edited by James
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500
Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10110. 396 pages, 1995.