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Pastures of the Empty Page: Honoring Larry McMurtry’s Legacy

Foreword by Stephen Graham Jones


In the vast literary landscape, few names shine as brightly as Larry McMurtry. His words, like a gentle breeze, have swept across generations, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of readers worldwide. As a testament to his enduring legacy, a new collection of essays titled “Pastures of the Empty Page” has emerged, paying homage to the literary giant who shaped the American literary landscape.

This collection, born from a profound respect and admiration for McMurtry’s work, serves as a heartfelt tribute to his life and literary contributions. The proceeds from this book will be donated to the Archer City Writers Workshop Foundation, a beacon of inspiration dedicated to nurturing aspiring writers and preserving McMurtry’s legacy.

Sam the Lion

In the foreword, Stephen Graham Jones, a writer deeply influenced by McMurtry, offers a glimpse into the profound impact of his work. Jones’s essay, titled “Sam the Lion,” delves into the significance of McMurtry’s storytelling and his ability to create characters that resonate with readers on a deeply personal level.

Jones recounts his encounter with McMurtry’s work, specifically “The Last Picture Show,” and how it mirrored his own experiences growing up in West Texas. The concept of “the Yondering,” a yearning for something beyond the familiarity of home, struck a chord with Jones, becoming a recurring theme in his own writing.

McMurtry’s diverse body of work, spanning novels, essays, and screenplays, left an enduring mark on Jones, inspiring him to pursue a career in writing. Jones acknowledges McMurtry’s dismissive attitude towards intellectualization and academic validation, emphasizing the importance of storytelling and connecting with the reader.

Stephen Graham Jones’ Personal Connection to Larry McMurtry

Jones’s personal connection to McMurtry extends beyond the written page. He vividly recalls his journey to Archer City, McMurtry’s hometown, to meet the legendary writer. The encounter, though brief, left an indelible impression on Jones, who felt a profound connection to McMurtry, a kindred spirit in the vast literary landscape.

McMurtry’s Approach to Fiction Writing

McMurtry’s approach to fiction writing was unique and unconventional. He rejected genre distinctions, believing that good storytelling transcended labels. His focus was on crafting believable characters and exploring their hidden stories, delving into the complexities of the human experience.

Jones draws inspiration from McMurtry’s emphasis on considering characters’ pasts and experiences, exploring the untold aspects of their lives that shape their actions and motivations. McMurtry’s influence is evident in Jones’s own writing style, which delves into the hidden corners of the human psyche, revealing the depths of emotion and the complexities of relationships.

A Glimpse of Larry McMurtry

Jones’ Encounter with McMurtry in Archer City

Jones’s encounter with McMurtry in Archer City was a pivotal moment in his life. He describes the bookstore, a haven for writers and readers, as a place where McMurtry’s presence lingered, even in his absence. Jones felt a tangible connection to McMurtry, a sense of shared purpose and a deep appreciation for the art of storytelling.

McMurtry’s Bookstore as a Symbol of Inspiration

McMurtry’s bookstore in Archer City stands as a symbol of inspiration, a place where writers and readers converged to share ideas and celebrate the power of the written word. It serves as a testament to McMurtry’s enduring legacy, a reminder of his unwavering commitment to fostering literary excellence.

The Archer City Writers Workshop Foundation

Purpose of the Foundation

The Archer City Writers Workshop Foundation is a beacon of hope for aspiring writers, providing a permanent writing center in Archer City. This foundation aims to create a space where students and professional writers can gather, learn, and grow, surrounded by the inspiration of McMurtry’s legacy.

Support from Fellow Authors

The foundation has received overwhelming support from fellow authors, who have dedicated their royalties from book sales to support its mission. This collective effort reflects the widespread recognition of McMurtry’s worldwide influence and the desire to preserve and celebrate his legacy.


“Pastures of the Empty Page” is more than a collection of essays; it is a tribute to Larry McMurtry’s literary genius, a testament to the enduring power of his storytelling, and a celebration of his impact on writers and readers worldwide.

Significance of “Pastures of the Empty Page”

This collection serves as a reminder of McMurtry’s significant contributions to American literature. His ability to capture the essence of small-town life, explore the complexities of human relationships, and craft unforgettable characters has left an indelible mark on generations of readers.

Legacy of Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry’s legacy extends far beyond the pages of his books. He was a literary giant who shaped the American literary landscape, inspiring countless writers and touching the lives of millions of readers. His work continues to resonate with readers of all ages, transcending time and space.

Discover more about Larry McMurtry and his enduring legacy. Explore his vast body of work and delve into the stories that have captivated readers for decades. Join us in celebrating the life and contributions of a true literary master.