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Published on Thursday, February 10, 2010

A Tribute to Louis L'Amour

By Matthew Pizzolato

I discovered his works while I was in middle school and have been reading them ever since. He has long been an influence in my life, in more ways than one.

His characters are like old friends whom I enjoy looking in on occasionally - Tell Sackett and Milo Talon are among my favorites.

The day finally arrived when I became aware that I had read all of Louis L'Amour's stories.

A deep sense of sadness pervaded me when I knew I would never be able to hit the trail with his characters for any fresh adventures. After brooding about it for a while, a thought struck me. I realized that if I couldn't ride along with L'Amour's characters, I could create my own characters and my own stories.

It was this inspiration that drove me to begin writing. I began my first novel at the age of twelve and although I never finished it, it gave me the courage to keep trying. I soon developed a love for creating my own stories and have been writing ever since. I don't think that I could stop writing, even if I wanted to. It's a creative outlet that I have to have. I owe my writing career, as humble as it is, entirely to Louis L'Amour, because for me, that is where it all began.

While he has been criticized for not being a literary master, I think that anyone can benefit from reading his work, whether they are writers or not.

L'Amour was known for his meticulous research and his attention to detail, which are aspects that I strive to emulate in my own writing. The water holes and trails his characters drank from and traversed actually existed.

His personal life also contributed to his works of fiction. Due to his tenure as a professional boxer, the fights in his stories are very realistic and I often reread one of his fights to get a feel for punches and counterpunches if I'm writing a fight scene.

The themes in his stories are applicable to anyone and I think that someone growing up in today's society should read some, if not all, of L'Amour's work.

His stories preach loyalty to family, self discipline and responsibility, qualities that are sadly lacking today. I can proudly say that reading L'Amour's work shaped me into the man that I have become, although I'm sometimes accused of being old fashioned.

The next edition of The Roundup will be written by Michael T. Pizzolato will focus on the making of the banner for The Western Online.

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