Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Because Of A Book with Mary Lynn Archibald

I am pleased to have another WOW author with me this week.  Please help me welcome Mary Lynn Archibald to the blog.

Mary Lynn Archibald is a freelance editor and copywriter, and the author of two books: Briarhopper: A History, a memoir of one woman’s life from 1913-1945, and Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse and No Clue, a lighthearted personal memoir of a greenhorn’s life on a small cattle ranch. Her forthcoming memoir, due out in early 2011, deals in part with her life as a San Francisco chorus girl.

It's difficult to say which book made me want to become a writer, but they say early influences on a child are the most significant.

If that's true, Misty of Chincoteague comes to mind. I must have been in the fourth grade when I read it, and it made an indelible impression. Partly of course, it was because I wanted a horse so badly at that age, as most young girls do.

But I think that primarily the book had such a hold on me because of several key things:

• The horse was a symbol of freedom

• Misty was a creature of mythical proportions

• The foal, Misty, I imagined was me

That story captured my imagination, drew me into its world, and didn't let go.

Funny thing is, I never had a horse of my own, and I only rode one twice in my 70-plus years. It turned out that I was allergic to horsehair, and terrified of riding horses.

Good thing my cattle ranch experience didn't involve them, as we did all our cattle herding on foot—a rather perilous pursuit, when dealing with animals that weigh nearly 1000 pounds.

Of course there were many other stories that thrilled me in those early years of reading. My mother had read the Grimm Fairy Tales to me when I was very young, and as soon as I could read them for myself, I nearly wore the book out rereading my favorite stories. “The Goose Girl” and “The Princess and the Frog” were the best, although I suspect their principle attraction was the illustrations of the beautiful heroines in my book. I could imagine I was them, too.

I also read Bobby Bubbles, another imaginatively illustrated children's book, which was a story about a boy who blew a bubble so big it carried him away to strange lands and interesting adventures. That was another one my mother had read to me when I was probably three, and that I reread as I grew older.

I knew I wanted to create stories like that, too. But the book that I reread most of all was Winnie the Pooh. It's one of the few I still read as an adult, because it contains so many universal truths of the sort we so desperately need these days.

Books have always been my teachers. Which books have been yours?

Mary Lynn has graciously offered a copy of Accidental Cowgirl to one of my readers.  Please comment below if you'd like to be entered.  Winner will be chosen at random.  Open to US/Canada addresses.  Contest ends Tuesday, Aug. 24th at midnight.

About Misty of Chincoteague - Nobody could capture the Phantom. She was the wildest mare on Assateague Island. They said she was like the wind, that the white "map" on her shoulders was her mark of freedom.
Paul and Maureen Beebe had their hearts set on owning her. They were itching to buy and tame her, and worked hard to earn the money that she would cost. But the roundup men had tried to capture her and for two years she had escaped them....
Pony Penning Day holds a surprise for everyone, for Paul not only brings in the Phantom, but her newborn colt as well. Can Paul and Maureen possibly earn enough to buy them both?

Buy it at IndieBound

About Accidental Cowgirl - In 1990, we heard the wilderness call to us, and, God help us, we answered. Of course, we had no business trying to run a full-time ranch with no experience. People tried to tell us that "The Simple Life" wasn't so simple, but we weren't listening. If you're over 50, or in a job rut, or looking for adventure (or all of the above), and you yearn for a tranquil country hideaway, please read this cautionary tale first.

Buy it at IndieBound


Jodi said...

What books taught me? I'd have to say Judy Blume first of all.

Julie said...

I love this post! I'm a huge Misty fan too - one of the first books I remember falling in love with.

ML said...


Judy Blume has the touch...I know when I taught high school my students loved her, and she had a powerful message for teens. In my opinion, a lot more wholesome than that of Twilight, say. Don't bother with that one.

ML said...

Thanks for stopping by, Julie. Always nice to find another Misty fan.

Dorothy Thompson said...

Don't you just love that Misty book...I live on Chincoteague and we still have the Pony Penning roundups and I go every year. So exciting!

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