Literary Texas: John Graves, Part 2

A limestone ledge on a stream near Hardscrabble, John Graves’ former ranch.

“April and May can be magnificent with birdsong and wildflowers and greenery gone crazy, and if good rains come in late August or September, as they often do, early fall can be a sort of verdant second spring before frosts turn red and blue and yellow and crisp.”

John Graves, From a Limestone Ledge

John Graves’ three books Goodbye to a River, Hard Scrabble, and From A Limestone Ledge brought him tremendous respect as a writer of nonfiction as well as Texas, national, and international awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Book Awards. Graves often said he wrote about what interested him. It turned out that rivers and fences and bees and carpentry and goats and chickens and self-sufficiency and folk lore and family and his ranch were only a few of his numerous interests. Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, and educated at Rice and Columbia Universities, he led at first a writer’s life creating well-received literary short fiction, much of that life abroad until he came back to Texas because of an ailing father.

Although brought up in town, as a child and young man he spent considerable time on his grandfather’s South Texas ranch. So, the transition to Hard Scrabble was not as difficult for him as one might have thought. Even his New York City-bred, Neiman Marcus designer wife seems to have taken life on a remote, limestone ledge in stride. They lived near Glen Rose, Texas, in Somervell County.

Pictures in and around Glen Rose, Texas, near Hard Scrabble, John Graves’ ranch. The river pictured above is the Paluxy.

A non-assuming gate that might or might not lead to Hard Scrabble. If this is not the gate, it is nearby.

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