Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Research . . .

Or, more specifically, What Counts as Research Around These Here Parts.

You see, I've been sick. For almost a week now, I've had the Sinus Infection from Hell, which I've come to call Nell. Nell has settled into my face and seems to be quite content with trying to push my teeth out of my head via sinus pressure. This has gone on for days.

I tried to get rid of Nell. I went to a medical professional; she gave me an antibiotic. I took it dutifully, trying to ignore Nell's peals of mocking laughter. Finally, after five days, the antibiotic started working. Not on Nell, of course, but at least it was doing something. We won't go into what. This is a family page.

So, I've been at home for almost a week. My chair has become permanently contoured to the shape of my backside; the dogs now consider my lap part of the furniture.

I've tried to write, but I think the snot ate my ideas. All I can do is stare at the television.

So I'm making the most of it. And I'm calling it Research!

What Counts as Research Around These Here Parts:
1. The Outlaw Josey Wales
2. Justified (multiple episodes)
3. 3:10 to Yuma (the Bale/Crowe version)
4. Unforgiven
5. The Apple Dumpling Gang (Come on, you know it was the first western you ever watched!)
6. The Man Called Horse
7. Return of the Man Called Horse
8. Randy Rides In (John Wayne, 1932)
9. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
10. Smoke Signals
11. Thunderheart (again, but always good!)
12. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
13. Little Big Man

My Tivo is tivoing nonstop these days. Heck, if I don't get better soon, I may start talking with a permanent drawl.

Why does this count as research around these here parts? Because 93% of Americans (a statistic I totally made up) have never been on a horse, have only seen mountains from their car or airplane windows, and think all cowboys have six-shooters and all Indians have bows and arrows. That 93% of Americans learned everything they 'know' about cowboys and Indians and the Wild West from movies.

I don't write about movie cowboys and Indians. My cowboys and cowgirls never shoot first, ask questions second. My American Indians never say 'How' and haven't scalped a soul yet. (Although if someone wanted to make a movie out of my cowboys and cowgirls . . .)

But if an author is going to write against a stereotype, then that author better darn know what the stereotype is. Case in point: The reason Shrek is so danged funny is because they know and understand what's at the heart of each and every fairy tale--and then they subvert it. Similarly, Justified's Raylan would never work if everyone--both the people he meets on screen and the viewers at home--didn't know and understand the concept of the lone gunslinger.

So there you have it. Research, Apple Dumpling Gang style.


lucylucia said...

Ugh - I am sorry to hear about the sinus infection!!! Try using an eye dropper filled with saline and hang your head upside down and fill your nasal cavaties with the saline, that's the only thing that helped the pain last time I had one.

In other news, the only things I learned about cowboys and indians was from Larry McMurty and his Lonesome Dove series - one of my favorite books of all time!

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Boy, it's been a long time since I read Lonesome Dove--but man, it forever changed the way I thought of Ricky from Silver Spoons, ya know?

Blythe Gifford said...

Definitely counts as research! In fact, I've heard of many authors who deduct cable, Netflix, and related stuff from their taxes. (This is NOT tax advice!)

Blythe Gifford said...

p.s. THANK YOU for such a lovely one-word review of HIS BORDER BRIDE!

Laurel Levy said...

I might only add one... Tombstone... if only for Val Kilmer. Glad to see Thunderheart on there... I could watch that movie ad nauseum (even if I can't spell ad nauseum)...

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Blythe--You're welcome! And while I will take many kinds of advice from you, tax advice isn't high on the list.

Laurel, trust me, if Tombstone had been on, I would have watched it!

Heather Snow said...

"I've tried to write, but I think the snot ate my ideas."

Okay, so my snort of laughter would have cleared my sinuses, had I needed it!

Maybe you can convince Nell to move in with the green Mucinex blog guy...do I see a romance short story in the making?

Feel better soon.