SHORT STORIES FOR A RAINY AFTERNOON
By Cordelia E. Lougheed
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When I lived on the island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, my favorite luxury was sitting in the shade under a palm tree with a book. I loved Ernest Haycock's westerns, and mostly his Western short story book. The romance of New Mexico and Arizona captured me early in the Saturday cowboy matinees at the local movie house.
In 1959 I married western artist Robert Lougheed, and we were making my first trip west, since The National Geographic was sending him to the Bell Ranch in New Mexico to sketch some of the quarter horses in their remuda for a horse series he was painting. Because of that experience, my own short stories would run through my mind, and I would say to myself, “write them down.” Life was busy for us on painting trips, and we would end up in Canada, or Montana, and then the stories would slip away, only to be replaced with new story ideas. Finally I took a note from my husband's discipline, and started to work on them. While I was writing, I would become a participant in the stories and would be transported to the different parts of the country where we had traveled in our camper van, like “Route 93” in this book. I like the challenge of developing a beginning to a composition with the theme in the middle, and then putting the idea across with an ending in four or five pages. I even love reading stories myself, especially on a rainy afternoon.
Cordelia E. Lougheed has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for forty years in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Having been raised in Connecticut winters, she moved to the tropical Virgin Islands for seven years, and then returned East when she and Robert were married. They were drawn to Santa Fe, where the bright sunlight and dry air attracted her husband's desire to paint the New Mexico landscape full time. Their painting trips took them to Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, the island of St. Croix, and the Golden West. Cordelia soaked up story material as her husband painted.
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