I really despise phrases like 'plight of the Indians' and 'searching for something that will connect this him/her/them with the lands of their ancestors', and 'once proud heritage'. They've all appeared at one time or another in reference to Winter In The Blood by James Welch, or my own books, or books by other Native American writers. I don't like 'plight' because it means we're stuck, when our cultures are dynamic. I don't like this imaginary searching because we are born connected. I don't like 'once proud' because we are still proud - of our families, our cultures, our languages, our art. James Welch's work embodies connection, dynamism, pride, as well as the human realities of hope and shame. Winter in the Blood should have received the Pulitzer Prize when it was published in 1974. The prize wasn't given in that year, so that's cool, because nobody will be deprived. Why not give the prize now?
These last few days of August are sweet. I'm reading Debra Magpie Earling's reissued novel Perma Red. It's fierce, and it's a classic. I've got to be careful with Mick Herron's Slow Horses series of spy novels, set in a house for failed MI5 spies, because one I start there's no question I'll be up late to all night until I finish. I'm reading Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake, about the fascinating vitality of fungi and how they 'make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures.'
I really have to double back to Perma Red, which is just out from our own Milkweed Press and with a gorgeous cover by Mary Austin Speaker and with interior design also by Tijqua Daiker and Mary Austin Speaker. First line of Perma Red: When Louise White Elk was nine, Baptiste Yellow Knife blew a fine powder in her face and told her she would disappear. She sneezed until her nose bled... What a great beginning. And it gets even better!
Yours for books,