History’s “Actors”



Fishtrap brought novelist Molly Gloss to town last week to further the Big Read discussion of Charles Portis’s book, True Grit. Molly’s task was to trace the role of women from “dime novels” to the present day.
True Grit, written about a time and place—Arkansas and the Indian Territory in years immediately following the Civil War—was written in the 1960s and published in 1968. Gloss told us that 14 year old protagonist Mattie Ross, who bore some resemblance to the “tom boy” women of the dime novels, differed in that she “moves the action” in the story. The tom boys of older books were there for color—not action. The more important women in those old novels were the frail Paulines waiting to be saved by brave cowboys. Even as they gained some weight and education as schoolmarms, their role in the story was to be saved by the male hero—who
Read The Article

At the edge of the rez

My friend Pam Steele’s first novel, Greasewood Creek, will come out from Counterpoint Press in November. I just finished reading a galley copy, and it is a fine book, set at the edge of the rez in eastern Oregon in recent times. But more about Pam and Greasewood Creek in a moment.

Reading it reminded me of Alvin Josephy and the beginnings of Fishtrap. In 1986 and 87, Alvin was lamenting the loss of a series of interdisciplinary seminars and conferences in Sun Valley put on by the Institute of the American West? It was there that he met Bill Kittredge and Annick Smith, the fine Indian novelist Tom King, and a raft of poets, novelists, and moviemakers who were making new sense of the West.

Now, as I go through his books and the books and manuscripts sent to him by friends and people looking for blurbs and critiques, I realize that Alvin had a long history with

Read The Article