You may be wondering where the title of this Blog came from since it's not really about school marms and cowboys. It's actually more about relationships. I have always been fascinated by the unexplainable attraction between certain types of individuals. Using my own family and acquaintances as the norm is, I know, an overgeneralization, but nevertheless, it bears consideration.
The school marm is usually pictured as a woman teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. She is generally thought to adhere to severe arbitrary rules and be strict on those who failed to comply with those rules. She likes the power and control of being in charge. Hers is a no-nonsense world of rules and rituals.
It is said that a cowboy is not only defined by the work he does, but by the way he carries himself. It is a culture of work ethics, not big talkers. Cowboys love nature and the natural world. They want to die working…not working for money, working to make things better. They love the land, the ranch and the plains. They know it intimately. Unfortunately, these characteristics do not always translate well in relationships. Early western movies portrayed the cowboy and his horse riding off into the distance and leaving the girl behind. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because women talk. They need verbal communication in a relationship, and cowboys love solitude silence.
So what is the attraction between these two seemingly opposite types of individuals? Is it simply a case of opposites attracting? I think not. Beneath her tough exterior, the school marm harbors a deep seated desire to improve the world she lives in. She sees education and the strict adherence to rules as a means to an end. She is, after all, a dreamer…just like the cowboy.
The cowboy, on the other hand, lacks the ability to impose order on his chaotic world. Deep down he knows that he cannot not succeed in making any significant changes to the world unless he understands and works within the rules that govern society. In a sense, he longs for order while at the same time, he is rebelling against it.
The same kind of push-pull attraction can be said to work for most relationships. What is it that attracts the charismatic leader to the shy, withdrawn individual? More importantly, what sustains the relationship when theses opposite forces come into conflict as eventually they must?
And therein lies, the crux of the situation and the basic plot line for my writing. I like putting these characters in difficult situations to see which one rises to the top…which one takes control…and how this crisis changes their relationship.