Cowboy Up

Tonight I had a conversation with my mother about westerns (movies specifically).

Westerns are a very traditional structure, story-wise. Hero falls into great calamity, everything looks dark, then the cowboy gets up off his duff and does the hard work/killing/etc. Sometimes it’s a happy ending, sometimes it’s a sad ending, but dammit, the cowboy did something.

Recently the writing has been coming hard for me, doubly hard since last month was so prolific. Then, during the conversation with my mother (maybe you all should have conversations with your mothers and see if something cool happens…if you don’t have a mother, dude, I’m sorry) I realized the reason I was not doing so well this month was because I slowed down. I got off the horse. Thought that was okay because I’d done so much earlier.

The truth is this: the more you do, the more you can do, the more you are capable of doing, and the more you want to do it. You’ve got to be a cowboy. Say damn it all and ride all night if you have to. That train in Yuma is not going to wait for you–it’s leaving at 3:10. You have to get to it.

When you’re done, done, that’s when you rest. Not before. Yes, it’s hard. It’s supposed to be.

Cowboy up.

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jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Absolutely. It’s amazing how long your mother’s voice stays with you even after she’s gone. So she’s still talking to me. And I can definitely hear her saying, “Cowboy up.” 🙂

  2. Yeehaw!The Japanese say, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”Freddie Mercury once said, “Don’t stop me now.”Rocky Balboa once said, “Nothing’s over ’til it’s over.”Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Only champions make it through the painful periods. All the rest stop when it becomes too hard.”Yogi Berra once said, “Every time I stop, I have to start again.” (Not really, I made that up.)Sure, anybody can fall off a horse, but what defines you is whether or not you get back on. That’s what I say.

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