Friday, June 10, 2011

Sherman Alexie is my hero

This man is one of my heroes. I became of aware of Sherman Alexie many years ago when, as a reporter, I covered an event where he spoke to students of a BIA school. He was so authentic, and his words carried weight even when delivered in humor (which he excels at, by the way).

When some people put "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" on banned lists, I was shocked. The book is so compelling, so witty, so important that I couldn't understand any prejudice blinding someone to its value. But then I am often shocked by what people wish to ban.

This semi-autobiographical YA novel never shirks from the horrors of living in poverty and abuse but tells the story with the resilient spirit and humor that Alexie brings to his work. For many hurt kids, on and off reservations, the book is a life raft, a beacon of hope showing a path to a better future.

A friend sent me a link to an article Alexie wrote for The Wall Street Journal that is a must-read for anybody, especially writers. Alexie says books were the most loving and trustworthy things in his life as a child. He read everything from classics to horror and found out that reading about monstrous things could teach him how to battle real monsters in his life.

This quote stuns me: "I write in blood because I remember what it feels like to bleed."

Please, please, read the whole article. You owe it to yourself and your readers.


P.S. I continue to post sporadically whilst in process of moving and turning my entire life upside down. *grins and groans*