Labor Day Weekend means RAIN

  • Happy 4th of July Weekend. If you live near me–and I feel safer knowing you probably don’t–then you’re having rain with more to come. After some of the news we’ve been seeing, I should probably say, “Rain, well that figures.” 
  • Note to those of you in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. It’s past time for y’all to declare independence from England, the U.K, the empire, or whatever it is these days. Don’t wait.
  • Author Keith Willis, a long-time friend of mine, will soon be releasing the next book in his swashbuckling, dragon-filled Knights of Kilbourne fantasy series. Stolen Knight, the 4th in the series, will be out soon. Keith and I met when I was an instructor and he was a student at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He was better at being a student than I was at being an instructor. My excuse is that I got the job a few days before the first class and had to move down to Georgia from Minnesota in my half-broken town Jeep. No time to prepare for the kinds of courses I wanted to teach.
  • A few days ago, I wrote a post about author Thomas Savage.  At least one reader has commented on the autobiography’s high price. That, unfortunately, is the way of things for University Press books. I don’t understand the thinking unlesss it comes from ther expectation that the book will be sold to other colleges and univerities with plenty of money. I meant to suggest a book you might start with if you’re new to Savage. A good place to start, I think, is with The Power of the Dog which Jane Campion made into a film by the same name in 2021.
  • For those of you who keep wanting to make stuff like chickpea salad, I should remind you that I don’t consider that kind of thing to be food, especially for a holiday weekend. It reminds me of the kind of stuff the cooks make on the TV show “Chopped.” Look at those judges for the show and ask them if they think the chefs who compete on the show are really cooking normal food. Hmm, I don’t think the judges are that blurry in “real life.”
  • Speaking of food, I’m preparing Kraft Mac & Cheese of supper. I’m glad the company has finally updated their packaging to display the product as we refer to it. If they’d asked me, I would have suggested they add the words “comfort food” somewhere on the box. 


New Title: ‘Savage West: The Life and Fiction of Thomas Savage’

“Thomas Savage (April 25, 1915 – July 25, 2003) was an American author of novels published between 1944 and 1988. He is best known for his Western novels, which drew on early experiences in the American West. – Wikipedia”

For the popularity and success of his unique western novels and the awards he received, Thomas Savage (The Power of the Dog and others) is more obscure than he should be. O. Alan Weltzien hopes to change that with his 257-page biography published by the University of Nevada Press in January.

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.

From the Publisher

Thomas Savage (1915-2003) was one of the intermountain West’s best novelists. His thirteen novels received high critical praise, yet he remained largely unknown by readers. Although Savage spent much of his later life in the Northeast, his formative years were spent in southwestern Montana, where the mountain West and his ranching family formed the setting for much of his work.

O. Alan Weltzien’s insightful and detailed literary biography chronicles the life and work of this neglected but deeply talented novelist. Savage, a closeted gay family man, was both an outsider and an insider, navigating an intense conflict between his sexual identity and the claustrophobic social restraints of the rural West.

Unlike many other Western writers, Savage avoided the formula westerns –so popular in his time– and offered instead a realistic, often subversive version of the region. His novels tell a hard, harsh story about dysfunctional families, loneliness, and stifling provincialism in the small towns and ranches of the northern Rockies, and his minority interpretation of the West provides a unique vision and caustic counternarrative contrary to the triumphant settler-colonialism themes that have shaped most Western literature.

Savage West seeks to claim Thomas Savage’s well-deserved position in American literature and to reintroduce twenty-first-century readers to a major Montana writer.

From the Introduction

“In her Publishers Weekly interview with Savage (July 15, 1988), Francesca Coltrera called Savage ‘a balladeer, almost, of the American scene.’ If so, Savage’s ballads, like many of his best known, sing sad stories, but it’s more than that. Particularly in the eight novels set in southwestern Montana and Idaho’s Lemhi River Valley, Savage wields an acidic brush, one that goes against the gain of triumphal stories of white pioneers and their prospering or floundering descendants. Savage prefers anti-heroic, acerbic flavors. His stylistic wit and play, especially his essayistic interludes, expose grim realities and lonely spaces.”