Monday, June 15, 2009

Books/Stories/Plays: A trip worth remembering pt 3

This is the final part of my trip down memory lane and the books, stories and plays that have had a affect on my life.

When I went away to college I took my love of reading with me. That is not to say I truly enjoyed reading text books, I didn't. In fact as long as I attended class and the professor tested on what he/she spoke about I didn't have to study. I usually remembered what was said. Still I continued reading for pleasure. The one book that stands out from that time is Mario Puzzo's 'The Godfather'. I had started it on a Friday night, woke the next morning and continued reading until finished. That means I missed all meals except dinner. Hey, it was Saturday steak night and I was hungry. Actually, if I had not finished in time for dinner I would not have cared. The story had me so engrossed.

The other book that made an impact on me was 'Siddhartha' by Herman Hesse. I read that rather quickly over Thanksgiving break. The book actually allowed me to see a different view of the world, or conceptualized the new thinking I was experiencing in college.

When I moved to Colorado the west did not fascinate me. In fact, I had not even planned to live here. I came because Illinois had nothing for me , so I came west with some friends. They have all gone, but I am still here.I fell in love with the area. Probably the two books that started my desire for studying history and the west were Gwen Bristows 'Calico Palace' and Louis L'Amour's 'The Quick and the Dead'. Those are the first Westerns I remember reading. I don't consider a child's version of 'Have Gun Will Travel' to really count.

I picked up 'Calico Palace' from the library because I liked the cover. Once I started reading I could see the characters, their loves and life choices. The other book,'The Quick and the Dead', was lying around when I was working the graveyard shift at a psychiatric hospital. I read that in about 3 hours between checks and have continued reading fiction about the west since.

The final 'nail' in the foundation of my desire to tell the history of the west through fiction was writing and performing a one-woman show based on the stories of my family and the stories of Colorado Springs. From that point on, history and storytelling were indelibly linked.

From a love of stories and reading to a life of sharing that love and history. I guess all that I have read, even those I don't remember have made me the person I have become today. What a gift those authors and their works have given me.

To read more about history click the second 'edit me' on the side bar to read Joyce Lohse's interesting blogs.


PennyS said...

Calico Palace is on my bookshelf. I bought it decades ago as a gift for my daughter and she left it behind when she went to college. Now I really must read that book !

Carolb-MT said...

The stories that interested me most and first were the ones my father told about homesteading in Eastern Montana and his early career as a cowboy. Later, there were the stories of Montana: Charlie Russell's Trils Plowed Under, Owen Wister's The Virginian, and Will James's Smoky the Cowhorse. Those books have been with me for nearly 50 years and are still on my shelf where I can get to them quickly.

Thanks for the journey, Dori! Good job!

Sam said...

for being born and raised in the west, I sure no little to nothing about it. My stepdad is always trying to get me to read some L'Amour. Calico Palace sounds like something I need to pick up...

Gwyn Ramsey said...

I love Gwen Bristow. Have read several of her books.

Gwyn Ramsey