Cowboy State

wyoming highway winterJust as they came to the end of the cutoff, a monster they had not known was gaining on them caught up, a tractor-trailer like the one they’d met earlier. A loud, decelerative, machine-gun popping was the only startling indication of its approach. The speeds of the larger and smaller must have nearly matched because the impact was gentle—more a push than a crash. They hung, suspended, between the contact and its consequences. The Chevette was thrust across the T, off the road—Jamie bellowed something, a cry of protestation—into a great pillow of snow, where it stuck, partially buried.

The rig turned south and went on its way. The whole incident took no more than a few seconds and concluded with the subsiding roar of the diesel engine. Then, they were alone again.

A harrowing road trip across the wintry plains of Wyoming has lasting consequences for best friends whose lives drastically diverge in the weekend’s troubled wake. Set in Wyoming in the post-Watergate era of second-wave feminism and spanning four decades, Cowboy State is about two remarkable, very different women and their complicated relationship; about family deceptions, and the natural and cultural forces that shape our lives.

Cowboy State, a 110,000-word novel, is unpublished.