|Hi, I’m Shelli Cornelison and I’m a member of SCBWI and the Writer’s League of Texas. I write a lot of book reviews, take interviews, and I hope you’ll find a lot of useful reading on my site.
Apart from that, I’ve recently decided to pursue my lifetime hobby. I’ve opened my own hair and beauty salon where I do what I like second in line after writing.I am now a honorary member of the Texas Hair Stylist’s Convention, which is the most important body that any hair stylist can adhere to. I will be elected a full member this year, which makes me feel proud and accomplished.
It can be difficult to understand customs and traditions that you didn’t grow up with. I once worked with a woman from Delaware and when I asked her about things she missed from home, she said she really missed Scrapple. I thought she’d said Scrabble and I couldn’t imagine why she thought she couldn’t play Scrabble in Texas. Did she think the only words we knew were y’all and fixin’?
Before I could offer to set up a game in the lunchroom she read my confused expression and went on to explain that Scrapple was food, pork to be exact, and that it was best described as “everything but the squeak.” Wikipedia can explain it to you further. I was reminded of this exchange yesterday in a local grocery store when I saw Scrapple in the meat department. What can I say? Austin is now home to enough people from all over the country that we can find “everything but the squeak” next to our brisket.
I don’t by any means think that everyone from Delaware enjoys Scrapple. She was one person I met from the great state of Delaware who did happen to enjoy it. And I think she was originally from another state anyway. As a native Texan who has lived in another state as an adult, I understand having to explain things and clear up incorrect assumptions. No, I didn’t grow up on a ranch, or even own a horse. No, I didn’t have a gun rack in my truck. In fact, hold on to your hat, but I didn’t even drive a truck. As irritating as the assumptions were, I did understand why people thought them.
And I understand why reviewers and editors sometimes question or challenge things about stories set in Texas that just don’t sound right to them. Here are a few things that seem to trip up non-Texans. (And to be fair, some of these are probably also assumptions made about people from states other than Texas and people from those places probably get irritated about having to defend or explain them, too.)
1. No, it is not odd for a grown-ass woman, or even a grown-ass man, to still call their father “Daddy.” In fact, they don’t even have to have a particularly close relationship with him for that to be completely normal in their world. Likewise, not all Texans call their fathers Daddy.
2. No, there is no consensus on the correct spelling of mama vs. momma. The correct version is the one you like best. The end. And it is not unusual for a grown-ass man, or a grown-ass woman, to call their mother “Mama,” which is, by the way, the correct version in anything I write. It should not be “corrected” to Momma. I wrote it the way I wrote it intentionally. Also, not every Texan calls their mother Mama.
3. Yes, the characters could have driven for nine hours and still be in Texas. It can take over 11 hours to drive from Beaumont to El Paso. No, I am not making that up and here is proof of the distance/time for said drive. And God help you if you hit Houston during rush hour. Texans don’t always exaggerate but when we do, it’s not about the size of our state.
4. Yes, there are vegetarians, and even vegans, in Texas. Yes, they could be native Texans. No, their mamas and daddies probably aren’t okay with it. But they might be.
5. Yes, breakfast tacos are a thing. You can even get them in vegetarian and vegan varieties. Of course, you can also get them with bacon, sausage, and even smoked brisket. I’ve yet to see a Scrapple breakfast taco, but I wouldn’t lay odds against such a thing existing somewhere in Texas. For the record, if I ever ask you to pick me up a breakfast taco, I do not want Scrapple in mine. Bacon, egg, potato, and cheese, please. And don’t forget the hot sauce!