Acknowledging Mattie Ross (Charles Portis’ True Grit)
Now most people in the “real” world, would not give any mind to a character made up in fiction through the mind of a writer. But I’m not one of them. I’m Mattie Ross. True I hail from Dardanelle in Yell County, Arkansas and I went looking for Tom Chaney and I bandied with Rooster Cogburn and I came up looking to even things with no-good Chaney after he killed my father and I came up from 480 acres of good bottom land.
And I thank Charles Portis for all that.
But somewhere along the line, with people all over the “real” world reading about me and seeing versions of me in movies, something happened and I became. I awoke. That’s right, I awoke and am as real as Huck Finn sitting next to me.
I think that, maybe with all the people in the “real world” reading about me and saying my name (actors and actresses, agents and directors, readers and audiences), I came into being.
Now, you can’t see me or hear me but Huckleberry here can. So, I’m telling you things. What you think and talk about and say and write about has meaning beyond what you know. You possess the ability to intend things. There’s power in your intentions like somebody or something made you, intended you to have power.
Charles intended me because someone gave him the power of intention.
All this going around being scared of things isn’t you. I’m more real than your fears.
And I’ll tell you two other things. Lawyer J. Noble Daggett’s watching earthly proceedings. In the eternal moment, he’s become, too. Funny about him. None of you ever saw him, not even on screen, not even in the guise of someone “real”, an actor, but you know his name. And he’s an Inquisitor and he’s watching the ones of you making all the trouble.
And he’s gotten to know Rooster quite well. As men of committed words, Lawyer Daggett and Mister Cogburn make a formidable “real” twosome and neither one of them likes the way you’re using your powers of intent.
Here’s something I strongly urge you to consider. Unless you want Lawyer Daggett and Rooster to turn up at your doorsteps, and you know what that means, an awful mess of a lawsuit that you’ll never throw off and that will plague your children and grandchildren down the line and a stiff boot up your backside and heavy pistol in your face and who knows what else depending on Rooster’s mood that day, start intending good things and live good lives, good outcomes.
Use your ability to intend. Each of you separately and individually. Each of you has the power.
If you get around to dreaming, look around for me. I’m with Papa and my arm’s all healed up. I’ll be riding Lil’ Blackie, Huck and I have a thing going and I see Lawyer Daggett and Rooster now and again. And Lucky Ned Pepper? He and Tom Chaney have things to do over.
~ Stephen J. Bergstrom