individual imagination uses those lines to reach out, rathernthan to push away, must be of interest to anyone looking atnWestern narrative. The already-noted difference betweenn”desert” and “land of little rain” is the difference betweennprescriptive and descriptive lines; “desert” labels a particularnspot as essentially dead, “land of little rain” allows for thenpossibility of life functioning within a spartan environment.nIn other words, even though writing draws lines, not allninscriptions grow out of cultural assumptions that seek tondemark and exclude. Other assumptions can value thenpower of language to unite, to function as umbilical cordsnrather than as cuts of a knife. In these terms, the work ofncontemporary Chicano and Native American writers isncharacteristic of what many Western writers are doing.nI began with illustrations of 17th-century inscription thatnworked to protect mission by means of exclusion. I wouldnlike to conclude by looking briefly at an instance ofncontemporary Western inscription that works toward inclusion.nOne can turn to numerous instances of Westernnnarrative in which imposed lines function destructively —nroads upon which people are killed in Edward Abbey’s ThenBrave Cowboy and James Welch’s Winter in the Blood;nfences in which cattle get caught in Leslie Silko’s Ceremony.nIn contrast, there is the image of braiding in Michael Dorris’nA Yellow Raft in Blue Water, where individual lives andnfamily relationships work like strands of a woman’s braidednhair. One striking instance of lines working to connect isnpresented by the Chicano writer Sheila Ortiz Taylor in hern1982 novel Faultline.nThe title of Faultline claims the attention of anyoneninterested in inscription. The dedication alone banishes anynJust complete and mail the adjoiningncoupon with your check or moneynorder, and we’ll promptly send eachnrecipient a gift card in your name.nGive Chronicles – – and celebratena delightful holiday tradition byngiving those on your list 12 monthsnof reading pleasure!nTO ORDER BY PHONEnCALL TOLL FREEn1-800-877-5459nidea of exclusion: “For my family, in all the best senses ofnthat word.” Like Dorris’ image of braided hair, the wordn”family” is inclusive, and its meaning is reinforced by thenimplications of family extending beyond blood or marriage.nStructurally, the novel seeks to discover that “family” by itsnexpanding sequence of new voices.nThe narrator was born on the San Andreas Fault, a factnwhich initially explains the title. But lines of “fault” extendnfar beyond the San Andreas. The narrator’s is the first voice,nand she opens with a chapter entitled “A Word From thenDefendant,” as though words were going to be used tonestablish lines of defense. But in this narrative, it is the verynidea of lines of fault (geologic and moral) that are open tonscrutiny: “Mrs. Renninger’s professional opinion ran alongnthe lines of fault, and nobody saw things that way anymore,nat least she thought they didn’t, and that anyway the morenshe tried to figure where the fault lay the less she understoodnwhat the question was.”nWhether because she is born on the San Andreas Fault ornbecause she is a lesbian as well as a mother, the narrator isnforced to confront the normative concept of “fault”nthroughout her life. But this book, in its sheer zest for livingnand its perceived joy in human relationship, delightfullyntears away normative proscription. Here is the opening,nimmediately following the announced “Word From thenDefendant”:nI realize that my three hundred rabbits are the mostnserious piece of material evidence against me.nPeople will think only an unstable mind could notnonly produce but sustain that kind of absurdity. YetnA Special Holiday Tradition Is NownA Terrific Holiday Value !nAChronicles Gift Subscription has long been a popularnchoice as a hohday gift for family and friends. Andnnow, our special hohday rates make giving Chronicles anconsiderable value, too. Give a one-year subscription tonChronicles for only $18 (you save $6 or 25% off the covernprice).nFOREIGN ORDERS ADD $6 PER SUBSCRIPTION. U.S. FUNDS ONLY. CHRONICLES SELLS FOR $2.50 A COPY.nSEND TO: CHRONICLES • P.O. BOX 800 • MT. MORRIS, IL 61054nnnNOVEMBER 1991/29n