Texas is a State of Heart, Not a State of Mind

The New York Times on the Lone Star State: “(It’s) a very personal kind of gut-level, emotional thing that happens after you move to Texas.”

By Alain StephensMay 9, 2016 10:53 am,

In a recent article, Manny Fernandez, Houston bureau chief for the New York Times, wrote that “You don’t just move to Texas. It moves into you.”

The line between the myth of Texas and the reality of Texas is razor thin. No other place seems to have that deep sense of place like the great state. Place, we are unsubtly suggesting, matters.

“This whole process of sort of becoming a Texan is so personal,” Fernandez says. “It becomes sort of emotional.

People say Texas is a state of heart, not a state of mind. Fernandez says he agrees. In his article, he says he picks at what is the Texas identity, and how it affects him.

“(It’s) a very personal kind of gut-level emotional thing that happens after you move to Texas and you start getting it a little bit,” he says.

When a major media outlet does a story on Texas and mentions a gun or the rodeo, Fernandez says the story is blamed for stereotyping Texas life. But that doesn’t mean they’re not true.

“A lot of these things are very cherished and they’re very unique,” Fernandez says.

For the article, Fernandez says he collected anecdotes, tidbits about state history and his own experiences.

“What I wanted to do is just have legitimate real moments and things and people who have gone one step out of the norm of state love,” he says. “Broadly speaking, culturally on a political level when you’re talking to people who hold public office, and then when you’re talking to ordinary people on the street, there’s some sort of Texas-centric, ‘We are Texas’ moment happening. … It affects people in the state in a lot of different ways.”

Prepared for web by Beth Cortez-Neavel.