But the real interesting stuff is in the cellar and the attic.
You'd never know it from reading the rest of the Native writers, but Indians actually grew up with American pop culture.
I don't think there's a whole lot of class literature at all. I think most of that has become racially based, and people don't think of it as being class literature.
If you're good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can't be wrong.
You know, people speak in poetry all the time. They just don't realize it.
The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know.
The percentage of Indian kids doing some sort of artistic work is much higher than in the general population - painting, drawing, dancing, singing. The creation of art is still an everyday part of Indian culture, unlike the dominant culture, where art is sort of peripheral.
The problem is that too many adults think their kids' lives are simple, or they try to make their lives simple, when their emotional lives are just as complicated as ours. They might have a few less tools to deal with it because they're young, but the emotions are all the same, and the subject matter is all the same.
Do you know why the Indian rain dances always worked? Because the Indians would keep dancing until it rained.
When you resort to violence to prove a point, you've just experienced a profound failure of imagination.
I was studying the sky like I was an astronomer, except it was daytime and I didn't have a telescope, so I was just an idiot.
If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one's chances of survival increase with each book one reads.
I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.
If you teach kids how to tell stories, they have a better chance at everything.
What kind of life can you have in a house without books?
Don't live up to your stereotypes.
Can you hear the dreams crackling like a campfire? Can you hear the dreams sweeping through the pine trees and tipis? Can you hear the dreams laughing in the sawdust? Can you hear the dreams shaking just a little bit as the day grows long? Can you hear the dreams putting on a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke? Can you hear the dreams stay up late and talk so many stories?
When anybody, no matter how old they are, loses a parent, I think it hurts the same as if you were only five years old, you know? I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents.
He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.
Last September 16th, I was walking in downtown Seattle when this pick-up truck pulls up in front of me. Guy leans out the window and yells, "Go back to your own country," and I was laughing so hard because it wasn't so much a hate crime as a crime of irony.
I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don't write to protect them. It's far too late for that. I write to give them weapons-in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.
Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.
You have to love somebody that much to also hate them that much, too. (191)
These are things you should learn. Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you; your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you. Maybe you don't wear a watch, but your skeletons do, and they always know what time it is. Now, these skeletons are made of memories, dreams, and voices. And they can trap you in the in-between, between touching and becoming. But they're not necessarily evil, unless you let them be.
If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.
You want the good life? You live where white people live, you go to school where white people go to school, and you shop where white people shop.
I've come to the point in my life where I encourage young Native Americans to become much more selfish about their personal needs and wants.
The cello looks like a woman to me. And, you know, the curves. And so I am in a way, and it's funny to admit this, I am sexually attracted to the cello, the curves really get me. So as I watched him play, you know, Yo Yo Ma is sort of making love to a beautiful woman.
Nobody recognizes that a bookstore or library can also be a drowning polar bear. And in this country [US], magazines, newspapers, and bookstores are drowning polar bears. And if people can't see that or don't want to talk about it, I don't understand them at all.
I got hundreds of emails insulting me, accusing me of being some caveman. I am by no means a Luddite. I have two iPods. I have a cell phone. I have cable TV, HDTV!
When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.
I'm a method writer. In order to write about the emotion, I have to experience it. I get physically tired and exhausted, devoting hours and hours and hours to it.
I end up feeling like a spy in the house of ethnicity, you know? Because people will talk around me as they would talk around the people in their cultural group. So I get to hear all the secrets and jokes and you know, I'm a part of every community because of the way I look.
Well, as a native, as a colonized people you do live in the in between. The thing is I'm native. But necessarily because I'm a member of the country, I'm also a White American.
Environmentalism is a luxury. Just like being a vegetarian is a luxury. When you have to worry about eating - you're not going to be worried about where the food's coming from, or who made your shoes. Poverty, whether planned or not planned, is a way of making environmentalism moot.
They put me in a holding cell with a black kid and a white kid and a Chinese kid. We're the United Nations of juvenile delinquents.
I draw because words are too unpredictable. I draw because words are too limited. If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning. But when you draw a picture everybody can understand it. If I draw a cartoon of a flower, then every man, woman, and child in the world can look at it and say, "That's a flower.
The poetry, if you will, of life is reduced to this sort of dry, scientific, you know, it's the worst sort of prÃ©cis of who we are.
When you're depressed, you know, it's like the world has ended. Even getting out of bed takes the most massive amount of effort. But when you're manic, oh, it's so addicting. You know, I have finished novels in two weeks in manic stages.
It's a weird thing. Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear. But somehow or another, Indians have forgotten the reservations were meant to be death camps.