Texas Stereotypes

A lot of my friends are Texans who have moved to other states.  They all love their new homes, but they know that there is a part of them that will always be Texan.

Sort of along those same lines, I’ve been thinking a lot about characterization.  Characters and dialogue are my absolute favorite part of writing both new and old stories.  I love figuring out what motivates them, what they value, who and what the like or dislike, what irritates them.  Characters, people in general, are interesting!  Something that I’ve always found particularly fascinating is the way that other people perceive each other.

Southerners and Texans are often stereotyped as horse-riding, beer-swigging, gun-toting rednecks.  I guess in some parts, that’s not entirely inaccurate.  Other times, Texans and Southerners are portrayed with thick, and I do mean THICK Southern drawls and politically insensitive and religious to the point of ignorance.  Again, I’m sure there are people like that out there, but every accent I’ve ever heard has been extremely exaggerated.

That being said, I’ve decided to list out a few typical Texas/Southern stereotypes to see how well I conform to the standards.  These are in no particular order and I won’t list every stereotype in the book, but it’s something I thought would be kind of fun.

Texas Stereotypes

“Y’all” – Yes, I definitely use “y’all.” I probably say “y’all” more than I say my own name. Even my characters say “y’all.”

Sweet Tea – Most Texans really do love their iced tea, but I’ve never been a tea drinker. I like water.

Perpetual Tan Lines – True.  Always true.

Horses – I have friends who ride horses, but I’ve only ridden a horse once in my life. As it turns out, I’m actually allergic to horses.

Bluebell Ice Cream – Best. Ice. Cream. Ever.

Bluebonnets – Like most Texans, I am obsessed with bluebonnets. My parents have the stereotypical picture of me in a field of bluebonnets as a kid.

Barbecue – Love.

Cowboy Boots – They’re not expensive or fancy, but I love mine!

Dr. Pepper – I don’t like soft drinks.

Guns – I’ve never shot a gun in my life. I do want to go to a shooting range sometime though.

Political Beliefs – Oh, I’d rather not go too far into my beliefs. I don’t want to start any sort of heated discussion. Let’s just say I am moderate, non-confrontational, and I believe in equality.

Beer – I like the taste of beer, but I do not like the carbonation.

Country Music – Love it.  I have an entire playlist dedicated entirely to Country Music.  One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was Roger Creager.  We ate barbecue and sat on a blanket under the stars and couples all around were two-stepping.  Super stereotypical and awesome.

Rednecks – I am definitely not a redneck. My idea of “roughing it” is a comfy cabin in the woods with indoor plumbing and air-conditioning.

Line Dancing – I think it’s impossible to live here and not know how to line dance.

Snow Shuts Everything Down – We don’t refer to one inch of ice as Snowmageddon or Icepocalypse for nothing. The only time I tried driving on ice, I totaled my car.

Tubing – One of the funnest things ever.

Cowboy Hat – I wore mine to DisneyWorld.

God – Yes.

Conclusion – If I was a character in a story, I think I’d be a stereotype.

Feels Like Home

This entire week has been kind of strange.  Although I’ve gotten a lot done, I’ve also had a lot to worry about and I haven’t been feeling very good myself.  I’m very ready for it to be the weekend.

However, this afternoon, I stopped by my friend’s house to drop off a copy of the new manuscript (she has graciously volunteered to be one of my beta readers).  To my surprise, I saw several cars lined up outside her house, but they’re doing a bunch of construction around her neighborhood, so I didn’t think anything of it.

I know on the door, however, and she answers it to reveal a bunch of friends that I used to work with at my summer camp up at Texoma!  I was so thrilled!  I hadn’t seen several of them in so long!  I got to stay and visit with them for about an hour, and even though I hadn’t seen several of them since last summer, it was like no time had passed at all.

Over the years, Camp All Saints has become like a second home to me.  I began working there as a counselor in 2009, but I’d actually been there once before, in 2002, back when it was a Lutheran retreat.  No offense to the Lutherans, but I did not enjoy it at all back then.  We had to eat at an outdoor pavilion filled with wasps and the water in the fountains was yellow and disgusting.

Today, the camp is absolutely beautiful.  I didn’t even know our church’s diocese took it over until I received a flier in the mail about it.  I applied for a job there on a total whim and ended up working there for three summers.  I’m going to go back in May also for a labor of love weekend.  I honestly can’t wait.

I grew up in the suburbs, about a thirty minute drive from Downtown Dallas, so big cities have never been much of a thrill for me.  To be honest, I really don’t enjoy them all that much.  I’d much rather spend my time in a small southern town, outside, in the fresh air, on the lake, running barefoot through sprinklers.

Before camp starts each year, the small town of Locust throws a local fish fry.  It’s probably one of the most small town things you could ever hope to do.

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I also love hiking.  I need to find more friends who will hike with me.  Most of my friends are married and boring.

Just kidding, I love you guys.

Even if you are married and boring.

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The Texoma skies are incredible.

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And the wildlife is abundant.

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And then of course, there’s the camp itself.

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It was good luck to kiss the fish you caught, okay?

Finally, this is a picture of me and Kit Kat, my beta reader, at the fish fry.  Kat is seriously the sweetest person I’ve ever met and this June, she will be leaving for the Peace Corps for two years!  I don’t know what I’m going to do without her!  I guess I’ll just keep writing.

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I’m so grateful to have found a place like All Saints that will always feel like home to me no matter what, and to have made the friends that I did there.  Seeing them this afternoon was exactly what the doctor ordered!

In writing news, I started on the new book last night.  I swear, the hardest part of any book is the very first sentence.  Do any other authors feel that way or is that just me?

Feel free to sound off in the comment section!  Good night, all!