Lindley J Stiles
Dr. Lindley Stiles, a world class poet, author and educator,
was born on a cattle ranch near
where Tatum, New Mexico now stands. His distinguished professional
career was anchored in his boyhood experiences on his father's
cattle ranches-on the Caprock, near Grants, at Pueblo Bonito,
and on the West Gallegos. He graduated from the Farmington, NM
High School which elected him as one of the first members of
its Academic Hall of Fame. After completing his formal education
at Fort Lewis College and the University of Colorado, Dr. Stiles
served as Dean of Education at the University of Virginia, and
the Interdisciplinary Studies at Northwestern University.
Dr. Stiles has recorded his memories in I Never
Rode Alone; My Boyhood on A New Mexico Cattle Ranch. Cowboy in
the Classroom, his professional autobiography, was written to
accompany the Stiles Career Shelf in the Archives of the Deering
Library of Northwestern University. Class-room Cowboy: Out to
Pasture, is an addendum which deals with his on-going career
activities. All contain various episodes from his cattle ranching
experiences which sparked his pioneering spirit as a professional
educator and writer. His creation of the social wisdom, The Best
Should Teach, led to his being named a "Living Legend"
by the International Biographical Centre, in Cambridge, England.
Simmie G. Plummer is a New Mexico native who has
loved stories about her familiy and about New Mexico since she
was a child. She taught history for more than thirty years, was
a Fullbright Scholar, and the author of The Constitution Made
Easier which is used by high schools throughout the USA.
Lori Musil is a native of Tucsan, Arizona, USA
who currently resides in Cerrillos, New Mexico. Her work as an
artist and designer has made collector's items out of the books
she has helped to produce. The creative and detailed pictures
testify to her love of children, horses and other animals. Lori's
work encompasses a wide range of artistic media and has been
shown and sold throughout the world.
Pageonelit.com: Where did
you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?
Who were your earliest influences and why?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: I grew
up in New Mexico. Farmington is my home town. Until I was
7 years old and then for about 5 months every summer I spent
on my dad's cattle ranches. As a boy, I read every book
I could get my hands on. In college I majored in English Literature,
reading all the past writers. As a professional educator,
I wrote about learning and teaching. Also, I wrote four
books of poems. A high school tacher, Daisy Morris, encouraged
me to write. Mattie Dorsey, a college professor, pushed me to
play over my head in intellectual matters.
Pageonelit.com: Why do you
Dr. Lindley Stiles: To share
ideas, concepts, perceptions, and visual images with others.
Professionally, my writing was about cutting age issues and events.
Now, I am writing western stories to
provide income for my professional legacy, The Best Should Teach.
The Western focus grew out of a question by one of my grandsons.
In my professional autobiography written to accompany the Stiles
Shelf in the Archives of Northwestern Uiversity, I introduced
each chapter with an annecdote from my early cowboy days. The
questin was: "Granddad why don't you write about your cowboy
days and leave out all that professional junk?
Pageonelit.com: What is
it you enjoy about western gentre as a writer? As a reader?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: Life
in the West was raw, full of action, diversity of characters,
and the wide ranges of scenery. It produced hard bitten men and
courageous women as well as children who grew up before
their time. I read western stories to gain entrance into a world
of adventure, mostly to relax.
Pageonelit.com: You have
written three books, Cody, Half A Man and Eagle Song. How
are these three books the same? How are they different?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: All
are about life on cattle ranches or the country in the early
part of the 20th century, in New Mexico and Texas. All
draw upon my own boyhood experiences. Half A Man is about a boy's
struggle to be recognized as a grown cowboy. Cody is about a
young man's struggle to live by his Christian up bringing in
a roudy cowboy culture. Eagle Songis about an Indian boy's struggle
to decide whether to be an Indian Medicine man or an MD
book about Half A Man is basd on true events. Tell us about
your book and your journey writing it.
Dr. Lindley Stiles: Many
of the episodes in this book I had told many times to my children.
My co-author, Simmie Plummen, added to them her own experiences
with Indians (her father was an Indian Trader) and helped to
add life to my stories. Writing the book for me was an
emersion in memories, fun to recall, and exciting to describe.
Actually, the book seemed to write itself. Charcters in
it told me what to write about them. Events unfolded to
excite me with my own writing. I still can re-read the
book and find it exciting and page turning. In my mind, it is
a classic, an unmatched true story about New Mexico
Pageonelit.com: Your book
Cody is the result of stories told to you by your father when
you were a child-- How did these stories change i in meaning
from hearing them as a child and revealing them as an author?
There are several true events and people in Cody--Tell a little
about C. W. Post.
Dr. Lindley Stiles: Actually,
I did not understand the full meaning of some of the episodes
until I wrote about them. For example, I hadn't realized
all my dad went through trying to be true to his religious beliefs
in a non-christian culture. Some enents, such as the "Cowboy
Hotel" episode, I added,since dad never talked about this
side of cowboy life much. But he did tell me about dancing with
Billy the Kid's common law wife. C.W. Post loved to discover
and develop his own human talent for his extensive empire. He made his money
of the sale of his breakfast foods, but he spent it on people
and the creation of a model little city,called in those days
Post City. He made my dad his foreman on his Texas cattle
ranch when he was maybe 23 years old. He wanted to help
dad to become a doctor,held his offer open hoping he would decide
to take itr up. From what my dad told me, C. W. Post was a man
much to be admired and followed. He always had a soft spot
in his heart for Post Texas, felt he helped to create it.
has been your feedbak from your readers? What do they say
about their interpretations of your books?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: I
have really been pleasantly surprised at how readers have accepted
my books. After they have read one of them, they send for
the others. Comments such as, "I could not put the book
down", "Your books are so clean, I am glad to have
my chrildren read them", "This book is a little gem
that shouldn't be missed" "Unlike most western books
and movies that are exaggerations of what life was like, a lot
of hooting and shooting, your books pictures of life as it really
was", "Your writing is A+", "Unlike
some writers whose goal sees to be showing off with the use of
obtuse language, yours communicates to readers without trying
to impress them with what a great writer you are--which you are"
'I was a cowboy, your books are true to my experiences".
I grew up in a Navajo Trading Post. You write about Indians
as I knew them?" University scholars, ministers, lawyes,
teahers, a member of the US Supreme Court, as well as people
in all walks of life--over the US, in canada, England, and in
Japan-- are among my fans.
"When is your next book going to come out"
is a quetion asked over and over.
Pageonelit.com: Who are
your favorite writers? and why"?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: Larry
McMurtry, Tony Hillerman, Louis L'Amour, and Kent Harup, among
Pageonelit.com: What next?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: A
book about a western woman, it should be out next summer.
It's title is: "Tough and Tender: A Cowgirl Challenges Western
Ways." Need I say more. Every woman will want to read it
and every man will have to read it to learn what wives and girls
friends are talkng about. I am also re-publshing my best selling
book of children's poems, "Moods and Moments" and a
children's book, "Christy, The Christmas Bird".
Pageonelit.com: Do you
have any hobbies? What are they like" How do they
enhance your writing?
Dr. Lindley Stiles: When
I am not writing, I read, watch sports on TV, do volunteer work
for my Alma Maters, Fort Lewis College and the University of
Colorado, and search out distinguished people to recomend for
inclusion in books published by the American Biographical Institute
and the International Biographical Centre.Golf and hiking, as
well as motor homing and travel, presently are on hold to permit
me to concentrate on my writing and promotion of my legacy,The
Best Should Teach. My hobbies, offer breakes from my writing.
But while away from my computer, I find myself thinking of things
that should be in the wook I am writing.