Jane Gilmore Rushing grew up in Pyron, a Texas town no longer in existence, and from childhood she knew that she would be a writer. In seven novels produced between 1963 and 1984, she built her stories around themes that few West Texas writers had dared to tackle. Much of her work centers on cotton farms and early ranches in a land she calls the ôtoo-late frontier.ö Those not familiar with her novels might find it surprising that RushingÆs plots explore such sensitive topics as an affair between a mulatto girl and a West Texas cowboy, or the painful recognition in an early-nineteenth-century community that one of their own is capable of child and wife abuse.
Lou Halsell Rodenberger explores RushingÆs life and discusses in depth her novels and memoir. She finds that although Rushing thought of herself as a regionalist, her fiction transcends region in illuminating what has motivated and sustained the Midwestern frontierÆs settlers and their descendants.
Lou Halsell Rodenberger, professor emerita of English at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, has devoted twenty-five years to research into what women writers have accomplished in Texas. Her most recent work, coedited with Laura Payne Butler and Jacqueline Kolosov, is Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers (Texas Tech 2005).