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" You know, some people fall right through the hole in their lives. It's invisible, but they come to it after time, never knowing where. "
" There are several kinds of land on reservations. And all of these pieces of land have different entities who are in charge of enforcing laws on this land. "
" I have to write. I have to be an artist. "
" Columbus only discovered that he was in some new place. He didn't discover America. "
" Nothing I force myself to write about ever turns out well, and so I've learned to wait for the voice, the incident, the image that reverberates. "
" My mother is Turtle Mountain Chippewa, and she lived on her home reservation. My father taught there. He had just been discharged from the Air Force. He went to school on the GI Bill and got his teaching credentials. He is adventurous - he worked his way through Alaska at age seventeen and paid for his living expenses by winning at the poker table. "
" I live on the margin of just about everything. I'm a marginal person, and I think that is where I've become comfortable. I'm marginally there in my native life. I can do as much as I can, but I'm always German, too, you know, and I'm always a mother. That's my first identity, but I'm always a writer, too. "
" I have never fully exorcised shames that struck me to the heart as a child except through written violence, shadowy caricature, and dark jokes. "
" I'd love to meet my ancestors. I'd love to be able to speak to them. "
" Revenge is a sorrow for the person who has to take it on. And the person who is rash enough to think it's going to help a situation is always wrong. "
" I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms. "
" Love won't be tampered with, love won't go away. Push it to one side and it creeps to the other. "
" I write first drafts by hand. Never do I open an umbrella inside the house. I don't predict wins or losses. I used to stand on a certain piece of rug if my brothers and husband were watching football and their team got in trouble - but now the luck went out of that rug. If a circle is involved, I try to go clockwise. "
" Here I am, where I ought to be. A writer must have a place where he or she feels this, a place to love and be irritated with. "
" My father is my biggest literary influence. Recently, I've been looking through his letters. He was in the National Guard when I was a child, and whenever he left, he would write to me. He wrote letters to me all through college, and we still correspond. His letters, and my mother's, are one of my life's treasures. "
" It was enough just to sit there without words. "
" I got well by talking. Death could not get a word in edgewise, grew discouraged, and traveled on. "
" Nothing I write ever has a moral. If it seems to a reader that there is one, that is unintentional. "
" What I see in the book is an exquisite form of technology: one that doesn't require a power source and can be passed from hand to hand and lasts a lot longer than an electronic reader. "
" On any state elections map, the reservations are blue places. Native people are most often progressives, Democrats, and by no means gun-toting vigilantes. "
" I grew up in Wahpeton, N.D., and I didn't leave until I was 18, and I've kept going back. "
" I grew up in North Dakota around Dakota and Ojibwe people, and also small-town people in Wahpeton. Writers make few choices, really, about their material. We have to write about what comes naturally and what interests us - so I do. "
" Talking about how I might write the next book is like talking about whether or not to have sex. Any dithering ruins it. "
" My parents' marriage is a gift to everyone around them - 60 years of making their kids laugh. How many parents are actually funny? "
" When I moved to Minnesota, I found there was a thriving and determined movement, a grassroots movement, to revitalize the Ojibwe language. And I've never come to be a competent speaker. I have to say that right now. But even learning the amount of Ojibwe that one can at my age is a life-altering experience. "
" My grandfather was a persuasive man who made friends with people at every level of influence. In order to fight against our tribe's termination, he went to newspapers and politicians and urged them to advocate for our tribe in Washington. He also supported his family through the Depression as a truck farmer. "
" Most writers have been influenced by Faulkner. "