#WesternWomenWednesday, Deanna Dickinson McCall
It is rare to find some one that not only shares the same foundational concepts but also inspires understanding beyond your own world. These are the most precious of people because growth becomes a positive, natural experience instead of a hard won battle.
Through Deanna’s writing and our personal conversations, Deanna has proven to be one of these rare, precious people.
1. Name. Age. Location.
Deanna Dickinson McCall. I am almost 60 years old, living in southern New Mexico.
2. I know the list is long, but tell us about what you do for a living.
I ranch with my husband in the Sacramento Mountains, we run both Corrientes and Brangus/Angus cattle. Our cattle run mostly on public lands, Lincoln National Forest and State of New Mexico leases. I am also an author and a poet. I write about the West in both current and historical times in poetry, essay, and short story formats. I am currently writing my first novel. I also work in the local town’s office as the Administrative Assistant, writing grants and as their archivist 3 days a week which provides health insurance for us. Being a breast cancer survivor, having insurance is crucial.
3. You have ranched in California, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico and I'm not sure how ever many other places! What is the most important lesson you would share with other women working within the cattle industry?
After ranching in 4 states, I’ve learned a lot about differences and similarities in handling both horses and cattle. As long as the goal is less stress to livestock, including saddle horses, it translates to less stress to folks handling them. Methods will always have to fit the country to work. The biggest lesson is to watch and learn, it never hurts to learn something new.
4. What inspired you to write and perform cowboy poetry?
I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where evenings were spent sharing stories, poems and songs on an old front porch or around a table. Some of my earliest memories are of those times, and my kids were fortunate enough to have had the same experience, learning some old favorites from my dad.
5. In 2018, you were nominated for a few awards, can you tell us about those?
In 2018 I was nominated for both the cowboy poetry CD and best short story award by the Will Rogers Medallion Awards. I won both, making these the 4th and 5th time I won that award for my work there, my previous books also winning in the years past. My CD was also nominated at the Western Music Assoc Awards, and is currently up for various other awards.
6. As the debate of promoting cowboy poetry in this modern age continues, what key elements do you feel are imperative to preserving the legacy of this genre?
I feel we must represent a true account of ranching and cowboying if we are to continue our legacy of cowboy poetry. The non-ranching, non-agriculture public needs to know ranchers were the first conservationists, that we raise a healthy product for them, that we have ties with the land and animals they aren’t aware of. I have heard first time attendees tell me afterward they had no idea of “this hidden culture”. That speaks volumes.
7. Deanna, you have always inspired me with your individuality in all that you do. What advice do you have for those struggling to find their personal voice and style?
My suggestion for any woman, or man, is to find yourself first. It goes back to having the grace to see your faults, changing what you have the ability to change. If you don’t like what you see in yourself, no one else will either. Yet, no one is perfect and sometimes those imperfections are what draw others to us. Each of us has different experiences, different views, making us unique. Accepting and respecting yourself for who you are is a huge step. Once you have reached that point, your voice and style will truly represent you as an individual.
8. What is your favorite 30 minute or less meal for winter?
Am omelet made with canned chili and grated cheese with fried potatoes and home canned fruit in the winter, and a stir fry using my garden produce and our beef is summer fast fare.
9. What books are you reading right now?
I am reading a couple of books, a mystery by J.A. Jance and a local history book. I read a huge variety of books.
10. What is your favorite quote?
God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Deanna’s awards -
The Will Rogers Medallion Award
The Georgie Sicking Award
Women Writing the West Award
Western Music Assoc. Award
The Academy of Western Artists Award
NM/AZ Book Awards
You can connect with Deanna here -