When I first began writing, I felt shy revealing anything about myself through my characters. For some reason, the image of Miss Sadie Buchanan always came to mind, the fifth-grade teacher whose method of corporal punishment was to make the culprit stand before the class and whack her own thigh with a ruler. I’ve lived long enough to outgrow the fear of being believed. Oklahoma Air is my most autobiographical writing to date, and although I’ve drawn freely from actual family history, my latest novel is a work of fiction.
Larry McMurtry said that writers form their mental landscape in young adulthood. I spent my youth shuttling between a Texas father and an Oklahoma mother. My first job took me to Texas where I’ve lived ever since. Oklahoma Air will make it clear that the landscape in my head is Kiamichi country.
I knew that story, that and a hundred more, told to me at bedtime by a homesick Okie marooned in California. Keeping her own past alive, Anna etched a mental landscape for the writer I would become. Thanks to her, Constance Miller, compleat urbanite, would draw from the mythology that accrues to a family who live on one piece of red Oklahoma dirt for five generations.
– Connie’s journal, from Oklahoma Air