Monday, March 11, 2013

Touching Greatness

(Sorry the photo is a bit blurred.)

Yesterday, I met Larry McMurtry. He and Diana Ossana were discussing their screenplay collaboration at the Tucson Book Festival  It was a packed audience.

And I had gone because I wanted to "clap eyes on him".

It was special to me not only because I admire his work, but because I'm actually a relative too. His great, great grandfather (maybe there's another great in there) and my great, great grandmother were brother and sister; the children of James McMurtry. The McMurtrys traveled through Missouri before settling in Texas and started a cattle dynasty. The saying goes, "If you talk about cattle in Texas, you're talking about the McMurtrys."

My gr, gr, gr, grandmother didn't make the Texas trek. She married and stayed in Missouri.

Larry grew up on a cattle ranch, but he didn't like it. So he's the Maverick of the family, I guess, taking to education and writing instead.


After the session was over, some people were crowding around the stage and after some hesitation, I joined them. I wanted to touch him. I NEVER want to touch someone, but I really had the urge to shake his hand and look into his face. So I did. I said, "I'm your cousin." and explained how we were distantly related. He smiled politely and I wondered how many people had said that to him. The McMurtrys were/are a big family. This has happened to him more than once, I would bet.

His handshake was firm, warm and polite. He smiled. And I felt somehow an odd ancestral loop of some kind had been closed.

He and Diana Ossana have a new blog that promises to be a delight. It is called Flash and Filligree and can be found at

No comments: