They say that Jennifer Hykes once wrote a whole Nanowrimo novel in a day. They say she could go out on a walk and come back with twenty new blog posts written and ready to go. They say the click-clack of her keyboard was so loud that a whole pack of cowboys showed up at her house, mistaking the sound for a thundering herd of cattle.
They say Jennifer Hykes is a sucker for a good tall tale.
Well, that last one’s true, at least. As for the rest…well, I’ll let you be the judge.
The tall tale isn’t unique to America, but it’s definitely a huge part of American folk culture. Bragging contests, whoppers, and the lovingly exaggerated accounts of historical figures feature prominently in our tales. More than one American folk critter has spun out from pranks, tricks, and “creative taxidermy.” It’s the bald-faced but (usually) good-natured lie told with a straight face. It’s the wink that suggests, “Well, now, it could be true!”
I think I’m drawn to tall tales for much the same reason as I’m drawn to fairy tales. A tall tale is just something in real life that’s been stretched out into greater proportions, giving it mystery, making it (sometimes literally) larger-than-life. Fairy tales tend to be much more explicit in their magic, while a tall tale leaves it up for debate. But both are in the business of seeing life through a glittering layer of wonder. Both give us this world, only moreso.
There’s a lot more I can say on the subject, and probably will in future entries. But for now, I’ll put this aside because I need to get back to my daily 50,000 words, and find a way to deal with all these cowboys.