Annie Proulx wishes she had never written Brokeback Mountain, said Susan Salter Reynolds in the Los Angeles Times. The 73-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner doesn’t care that her 1997 story, about two homosexual cowboys, upsets her Wyoming neighbors. Or that the movie made from it is better known than any of her novels. What bothers her are the screenplays and unpublished manuscripts she receives from men who want to rewrite or expand the story, suggesting she left it incomplete. “The cover letters,” she says, “always begin with the sentence, ‘I’m not gay,’ but they think that just because they are men, they understand men better than I do.” Proulx’s four grown children know enough not to offer opinions about her books. “It’s not that we don’t get along,” she says. “It’s just that we don’t talk about my writing.”
Writing is a solitary pursuit for Proulx, but she’s begun to feel life in Wyoming provides a bit too much solitude. She’s at an age when the remoteness of her home on the North Platte River causes her worries about medical emergencies. “I moved to Wyoming for the long sightlines and the walkability,” she says. “But I’ve had enough.” She’s also made slightly uncomfortable by neighbors who know she’s passed judgment on them over the years. “Everyone here is playing a role: the brave pioneer woman, the cowboy,” she says. In short, Proulx and her pen have worn out their welcome. “The downside of the writing life,” she says, “is that you are a constant observer of other people’s lives.”
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