Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Can Don Graham Say That?

AUGUST 10, 1998: 

CAN DON GRAHAM SAY THAT?

People read Don Graham for any number of reasons: to laugh, to disagree, to gain insight. For whatever reason, all Don Graham readers know he gets to the point, and quickly. Here are some choice quotes from Giant Country: Essays on Texas.


The year Graves took his canoe down the Brazos [1957], Jack Kerouac published On the Road, the ultimate anti-bourgeois novel of the period. In Texas there were no beatniks. Well, actually there were four beatniks, but they were never together at the same time and in the same place to form much of anything, let alone a literary movement.


"All regionalism seeks the imprimatur of universal themes, hoping thereby to avoid being dismissed as mere local color."


The whole Larry [McMurtry]-Don situation can be summed up by a little anecdote of something that never happened. "Sometime in the early nineties Larry decided to take unto himself a partner, a writing partner. This sidekick would carry the load, share the burden, tote that bale, perform heavy lifting. I was ready. I sat by the phone waiting for the call. Let's go, Larry; let's take 'em to Missouri. It never happened. He never called. Instead he picked somebody else, a woman, a friend. Then they signed a four-book $10.2 million deal."


"Anyway, during my brief and incredibly witty remarks which I read with studied casualness, a front tooth that I'd forgotten had even been capped fell off in mid-sentence, clattering onto the slanted podium in front of me and rolling down to the bottom where, covertly, I managed to snare it."


"The task for academics is to do what they do best, to uncover, sift through, evaluate, and redeem from the past, writing which is valuable and worth knowing. The task for Texas writers is to stop worrying about Texas as a provincial tag, a handicap, a brand." - C.S


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