The Roundup -

Williston Born Author Writes New Teton Novel "Stories Of The Mother Bear" A Life Journey Across The Miles


January 2, 2019 | View PDF

Myrtle Brooks during a book signing.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - When author Myrtle Brooks spent an overnight under the stars in Grand Teton National Park in 1967, it was one stop along a cross-country camping trip.

Forty-three years later, she packed up her 1999 Dodge Caravan and made the drive herself. Upon entering Teton for the second time, she experienced the land's hearty welcome. "Like a big, old mother bear," she remarked. Thus, her historical fantasy, Stories of the Mother Bear, Black Rose Writing, began. In Jackson, Wyoming, a cache of documents discovered in a deceased resident's attic confirms a childhood vision journalist Bill Larkin experienced while on a camping trip in Grand Teton. Learning his memories of a mother grizzly, who transforms the lives of those who cross her path, were not imaginary, Bill embarks on a life journey, intertwining his autobiographical Stories of the Mother Bear with current events; foremost, the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

The deceased, Rufus Headrick, and his family were black cowboys. His grandfather, a freed slave, kept a journal from his days as a Texas cattle hand through the family's ever-westward travels to Teton. Portrayed is a large, engraved brass key, yet to be found, which a Kiowa youth gave Rufus' father along the Chisholm Trail. Who is the estate's rightful heir? And what connection does the Headrick Family have with the Mother Bear?

A little ways along the main road after the Teton entrance, I pulled the bus over to the curb, opened the door and emerged to look around me. "It's... that I feel I've been here my whole life. As though it's a place I've known for all time." "Is it because it's scenic?" Jesse sought me eagerly. "It's because... I've returned home."

Notwithstanding, Brooks' Western includes more than a nod to the city of her origin in relation to the pristine, defined majesty of Teton.

"I get the same feeling here in New York as I do the mountains; it's as if... the skyscrapers are on the same level metaphorically. There's that perfection, that ordered pattern as in nature. Or, I'm a candidate for... the hospital here with the mental ward..." "Bellevue." She shook her head. "I get that sense of euphoria every time I return here. So many New Yorkers visit the West. It's a dream of theirs to see the land where the cowboy pictures are filmed; to get themselves dizzy taking in the thin mountain air; to unfold their sleeping bags under the stars someplace where there's no civilization around for miles. I'm a Westerner, born in Williston, North Dakota. I come to New York."

"A beautifully written account of life, friendships, love and tragedies against a vision of comfort and wisdom." -Gerry Sammon, Author, Wolf Boy.


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