Monday, August 8, 2011

Annie Oakley I am not


This past weekend I did something I’ve never done before: I shot a gun.

It all started with an email from one of my friends: “Hey, shotgun tournament. No experience necessary.  Want to come?” 

Not only have I never shot a gun, I’ve never even been near a gun being shot. Of course I said yes. 

You see, the other night I was watching a documentary on The Real Lonesome Dove with my father and said “I should write a Western one day.”  It could happen, and from what I’ve gathered after watching The Magnificent Seven and True Grit, the Wild West must have been one of the most dangerous places ever (and therefore not on my list of places to travel back in time to, even if the men did look like Josh Brolin).  People were always shooting or getting shot.  Always.  So it would make sense I should at least know how to use a rifle.  To write a Western without ever having fired a bullet is like writing a sailing yarn without ever having been on a boat, right?  And I am clearly all about historical accuracy.  

Saturday came around and let me tell you, I was scared. Riffles are heavy.  And, oh yeah, they kill people.  I was terrified to even hold the thing, let alone point it somewhere.

But I did it.  25 whole rounds of it.  I loaded.  I aimed.  I pulled the trigger.  I even hit a few (bright orange, who knew!) clay pigeons.

All for the sake of art.

That’s not to say I would last a week in the Wild West, but I’m sure Larry McMurtry would still applaud my efforts.   

Next required Western skill: calf roping. Someday.

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