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.

Confessions and Stereotypes

Whenever I meet a new person and tell them that I’m a writer, that I write novels, they invariably say something along the lines of, “Wow… you have a lot of patience!  Wow, you must be dedicated.  Oh man, you must be smart.”  

All of those are great assumptions, but I always feel like sort of a faker, because the truth is I just like writing stories.  It’s not something I do because I have this amazing sense of self-discipline or I’m just super jazzed about conjunctions and prepositions (to be honest… I’m not sure I know what those are).  It’s something I do because I enjoy it, because I would actually be miserable if I didn’t get the stories in my head out on paper.  

That’s not to say I’m not smart (kind of) or dedicated.  I’m very dedicated to what I do.  But I have like, zero patience for a lot of what it involves.  I’m terrible at grammar, which is probably the most humiliating part.  I don’t want people to read my grammar errors that I post here on this blog or on my Twitter and think, “Oh, she’s dumb.  She must be a terrible writer.”  I think I’m actually a pretty decent writer.  I love my stories and my characters.  I’m just not great at the technicalities.  But hey, that’s why my editors are such an important part of my life!  They are brilliant.    

I don’t write because I have something to prove.  I write because it’s fun and because I have found more joy and meaning in the books that I’ve read throughout my life than pretty much anywhere else.  I hope one day, I can pass that gift along.