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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 write?

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 doctor.

 

Pageonelit.com:  Your 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 cattle drive.

 

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.

 

Pageonelit.com:   What 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 western writers.

 

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. 

 

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