Years ago, when I lived in Nashville, I picked up a copy of Pam Houston's Cowboys are My Weakness. The stories spoke to me then; they still do. Every few years, I sit down to re-read them. It's like having a chat with a comfortable friend; one who understands the feelings that I never want to acknowledge, let alone put in to words. Who simply knows.
For a long time, Houston didn't have other books; now she does. I've been reluctant to pick them up because the bar is so high. But I made the jump this summer and her follow-up to Cowboys, Waltzing the Cat measures up quite nicely. The narrator, Lucy, is another one of those people who resounds with me. When she says, "I mean if I saw me coming down the street with all my stuff hanging out I'm not so sure I'd pick myself up and go trailing after," I get it.
When another character, Leo, says of Californians: "The great thing about Californians…is that they think it's perfectly okay to exhibit all their neuroses in public as long as they apologize for them first," I laugh.
And toward the end of the book, when Lucy says, "…home might be…a place that could forgive you all your years of expectations, a place that could allow you - in time - to forgive yourself," I hope to hell that she's correct.