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82 Western American Literature one who has moved to Texas and [who has] become a resident” (p. 6). He adds that he has chosen “writers producing now, with work still in their typewriters” (p. 6). Since Bennett has selected living authors, one might ask, why these twelve? Are they the best? What about Benjamin Capps of Grand Prairie? or Laura Krey, Austin; Suzanne Morris, Houston; Frank X. Tolbert, Dallas, or writers mentioned by several of the “chosen twelve,” such as Texan Don L. Coburn, who wrote The Gin Game, or Bob Flynn, San Antonio, who wrote North of Yesterday. Perhaps his next twelve will include some of these writers, for as Bennett says, there is a limit to the number one can put in one book. W'hat Bennett has done is valuable for the ideas and thoughts he evokes from the Texas writers. His format is consistent. He introduces the writers with a brief biographical sketch, asks when they began writing, where they get the names of their characters, if they revise their work, when they find time to write, what advice they would give to young writers, what authors they admire, and who may have influenced them. The writing habits of the twelve authors vary. Some compose at the typewriter (McMurtry, Greene, Kelton, Graves, King, Mossiker) ; others compose in longhand and then type (Hale, Jones, Goyen, Apple, Hearon, Lea). Some use an outline; some carry parts of the story around in their heads, and when it seems time, they begin writing. Their viewpoints are interesting, and the matter may be summed up in the words of Preston Jones, “Writing is such an individual thing” (p. 170). A philosophy pervades the volume in the writers’ attitudes about the future and their writing life. Leon Hale, who, when asked about completing a work, replied, “I guess I will if I live long enough” (p. 140). Preston Jones found time “the enemy’’ (p. 159). Bennett too hopes that, “If this book builds a fence around Texas literature, . . . let’s hold it to about four strands of wire, a fence through which you can see a long way in any direction, one through which intellectual winds can circulate with freedom” (p. 4). And that is the best kind of book. DORYS CROW GROVER East Texas State University Chrysalis. By Joyce Ellen Davis. (Salt Lake: Olympus Publishing Co., 1980. 169 pages.) Chrysalis speaks of living and dying. It focuses on the thoughts of Jody Harper, a thirty-four-year-old mother of four boys who has been told she may die of malignant melanoma. Reviews 83 There is a growing fist of ice blocking my breath. . . . It’s not fair. ... I want to go home. I want to go for a walk in the hills. I want it to rain all over me and wash off all the hospital smell. I want to hold my babies. I want to be alive. I hate this self-pity. . . . I think too much. I’m treading water as hard as I can and still going under. I want nothing more than to sit in the closet with the door shut and howl and curse in the dark. I want to go to bed and never get up again. What we learn through Jody’s honest observations is that living has nothing to do with dying of cancer. Living is an attitude of the mind and Jody can choose to be alive. Cancer acts as a catalyst which causes Jody to feel the urgency of time, to be more aware in her perceptions and reflections. We see within the walls of her cocoon, see through the stone of the statue pictured on the book cover. We see the growing, the pain and the joy, the variables of high and low as on a weather chart. We see a person forming slowly, becoming. I feel . . . a rediscovery of sensation after numbness, a sort of reawakening. I want to assert my reality with an intensity others will recognize. I feel things I’ve never felt before. People are more beautiful than they were. Breath is sweeter. Colors are brighter. I live for today, and forget about yesterday and tomorrow...


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pp. 82-83
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