A few years ago, back in the days when the LATimes had a stand-alone Sunday magazine, Scott Kraft wrote a tremendous story about visiting Larry McMurtry, the writer, author of "The Last Picture Show," "Lonesome Dove," and "Terms of Endearment," among many other great stories, at his bookstore in tiny Archer City Texas. It's called The Loner.
A couple of noteworthy lines:
McMurtry lives in a majestic three-story home a few doors down from the single-story house where he grew up and not far from the high school where he graduated in 1954 among a senior class of 19. He moved back to Archer City, population 1,848, just five years ago.
He keeps mostly to himself, and locals know better than to try to engage him in chitchat. "He's a very conservative-type feller," says Max Wood, the town's 68-year-old mayor. Wood has known McMurtry since high school but doesn't consider himself a close friend. "Larry was always the type of person who was more of a loner."
Here's a picture of McMurtry, from a photo posted in one of his bookstores in Booked Up:
Well, to put it simply, to learn that one of this nation's greatest writers has a bookstore -- a monster bookstore -- in a famous (from "The Last Picture Show") little town in Texas, and what's more hangs out at his store, and can be talked to -- well, I had to visit. So yesterday, after attending a reporting workshop that gave me the chance to visit Dallas, two hours away, I did.