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March 04, 2012


Edward M. Erdelac

Hey Chris, I'm jumping in 'cause you gave me an opening. I don't exclusively write westerns, but I have written a straight historical western, Buff Tea. I'm mainly known for writing weird westerns, in particular my Hasidic mystic gunslinger series Merkabah Rider (Tales of A High Planes Drifter, The Mensch With No Name, and Have Glyphs Will Travel). I wasn't born in the West, I'm a Hoosier and an ex-Chicagoan. Though I did watch The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid as a boy, I turned my back on westerns for a lot of years, only got back to it after I saw The Good The Bad And The Ugly. Then I went back and watched and read as much as I could. For me, the appeal of the western is twofold. Firstly it's the incredibly varied clash of cultures. The frontier wasn't always the great equalizer it's sometimes portrayed as, but everybody - EVERYBODY particiated, from Asian and European immigrants to ex-slaves, to native Indians. Every color and creed had a hand in forging the West we know. That unlikely clash (and sometimes surprising cooperation) of cultural systems continues to fascinate me, from Indian scouts, to black cavalrymen, to Chinese gamblers and Arabic miners driving camels across Arizona. Secondly, the relative spaciousness both of mind and locality. The frontier wasn't just the promise of empty land, it was a blank page. A man or a woman could concievably get away from the packed margins of the eastern urban sprawl and write a new story for him or herself. We live in an era of creditors and media overload. We walk stooped under the weight of abstract worries - how will I pay my rent? Where will my kids go to school? Will I have the same job next year? My dreams are filled with escaping to a simpler time, when a person could reinvent himself and very often the problems he faced could be physically overcome. In short, I look to 'those thrilling days of yesteryear.'

Ron Scheer

What a great idea, bringing together all these folks I know of and admire for a roundtable. Thanks.

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