An Interview with Diane Wilson
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Interview
Tuesday 28 March 2006
Diane Wilson is the author of An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas (Chelsea Green, 2005). It is a remarkable book, telling the story of Wilson's life as female shrimp boat captain and an environmental activist fighting devastating toxic pollution from chemical and plastics manufacturers on the Texas Gulf Coast.
But I have to confess, when the book was first recommended to me, I hesitated to read it. As an environmental activist, I have my own personal history of endless hours of research, boring meetings, scary confrontations, nasty intimidation and the infighting that goes along with these struggles, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to hear all the gritty details of someone else's pains and triumphs. Lois Gibbs, the courageous activist mother of Love Canal, said the same thing in her review of An Unreasonable Woman in Orion Magazine. But like Gibbs, I was hooked after the first page. For one thing, the Texas Gulf Coast seems to be unlike any other place on the planet.
Molly Ivins and others have called An Unreasonable Woman a masterpiece of American literature, and I agree. First, there is the poetry of Wilson's language. I can only compare her to fiction writers like Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx. She wraps her tender descriptions of her beloved Lavaca Bay around poignant inner reflections, while rendering the home-grown dialogue and emotionally tense social ecology of her community with complete authenticity.