A Blizzard Under Blue Sky - 1

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A Blizzard Under Blue Sky - 1

By | November 2012
Page 1 of 6
Pam Houston has taught creative writing at Denison University in Ohio, where she completed her undergraduate studies, and her short stories have appeared in various literary magazines. Presently completing her doctoral studies at the University of Utah, Houston is also part of the world of women's fashion magazines as a contributing editor for Elle and a frequent contributor to Mirabella and Mademoiselle. For a number of years, Houston has also worked part-time as a river guide and hunting guide in the western United States and has written about those activities for the publications Outside and Travel and Leisure.

Houston's interest in the outdoors forms the core of the stories in Cowboys Are My Weakness (1992), stories that have been described as "exhilarating, like a swift ride through river rapids," as well as "beautifully written and funny." In "A Blizzard Under Blue Sky," the exhilaration comes from sharing a winter adventure in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, while the beauty of the writing is exemplified by this magical description of snow: "[it] stopped being simply white and became translucent, hinting at other colors, reflections of purples and blues and grays." Much of the humor in the story is based on the American fondness for believing that pets think and act like humans. Another feature of Houston's style is that she reflects her generation's habit of referring to items by brand names. She also sometimes teases by not directly identifying a character's gender, using a name that could be either a man's or a woman's and letting a simple pronoun do the work, perhaps contradicting the reader's expectations.

A heavy snowstorm with high winds, the "blizzard" of the title, matches the narrator's mood at the beginning of the story. She tells us that "everyone /n Park City," a resort area near Salt Lake City, Utah, was happy except her. Could that be literally true, or is she exaggerating to make fun of herself? What could have caused such...