He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.
I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.
When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.And so, laughing and crying, we said good-bye to my grandmother. And when we said goodbye to one grandmother, we said good-bye to all of them.Each funeral was a funeral for all of us.We lived and died together.All of us laughed when they lowered my grandmother into the ground.And all of us laughed when they covered her with dirt.And all of us laughed as we walked and drove and rode our way back to our lonely, lonely houses.
So I heard the boom of my father's rifle when he shot my best friend. A bullet only costs about two cents, and anybody can afford that.
Everyone I have lost in the closing of a doorthe click of the lockis not forgotten, theydo not die but remainwithin the soft edgesof the earth, the ashof house fires and cancerin sin and forgivenesshuddled under old blanketsdreaming their way intomy hands, my heartclosing tight like fists.- Indian Boy Love Song #1
As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.And now 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.
Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when they're put together.You can do it.
Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a 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.
[Or perhaps my friends should have realized that they shouldn't have left behind the FRICKING REASON FOR THEIR PROTEST!And that thought just cracked me up.]It was like my friends had walked over the backs of baby seals in order to get to the beach where they could protest against the slaughter of baby seals.
Teenagers read millions of books every year. They read for entertainment and for education. They read because of school assignments and pop culture fads.
What if someone picks on me? I askedThen I'll pick on them.What if someone picks my nose? I asked.The I'll pick your nose, too Rowdy said.
(I think Rowdy might be the most important person in my life. maybe more important than my family.) Can your best friend be more importamt than your family?
The white people always want to fight someone and they always get the dark-skinned people to do the fighting.
And I couldn't make fun of her for that dream. It was my dream, too. And Indian boys weren't supposed to dream like that. And white girls from small towns weren't supposed to dream big, either.We were supposed to be happy with our limitations. But there was no way Penelope and I were going to sit still. Nope, we both wanted to fly:
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?
But, in the Trump aftermath, I've measured the costsAnd benefits of loving those who don't loveStrangers. After all, I'm often the odd one—The strangest stranger—in any field or room.He was weird will be carved into my tomb.
He looked into the crowd for approval, saw his mother and father. He waved and they waved back. Smiles and Indian teeth. They were both drunk. Everything familiar and welcome. Everything beautiful.
If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one's chances of survival increase with each book one reads.
I always think it's funny when Indians celebrate Thanksgiving. I mean, sure, the Indians and Pilgrims were best friends during the first Thanksgiving, but a few years later, the Pilgrims were shooting Indians.So I'm never quite sure why we eat turkey like everybody else.
Seems like the cold would never go away and winter would be like the bottom of my feet but then it is gone in one night and in its place comes the sun so large and laughable.
What is it like to be a Spokane Indian without wild salmon? It is like being a Christian if Jesus had never rolled back the stone and risen from his tomb.
There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away. (107)
How much do we remember of what hurts us most? I've been thinking about pain, how each of us constructs our past to justify what we feel now. How each successive pain distorts the preceding.