Debut Novel 14 Years of Ups and Downs: How CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE Survived, Endured, and Finally Came to Being

I’m always drawn to these stories. Of the writer who wrote for decades to finally find her way onto a bookshelf. I’m drawn to them because I feel for what the writer has endured and the level of gratitude that comes along with it. It’s rough out there. We’re all tough. You can’t endure the writing process without thickening your hide with a multitude of scars. There are many talented writers. When it all comes together, when your hard work finally meets opportunity, you can’t help but find yourself in a gracious meditation on the trials and tribulations of creating your work of art.

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Tommy Orange’s Praise for Oscar Hokeah’s Debut Novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE

As many of you already know, I’ve been out of the loop. Also many of you know about my debut novel. I had been promoting it on my social media constantly for months after it released in late July 2022. Then tragedy hit my family. I became distracted and consumed by my little sister’s well being. I deleted all my social media. In the last few days, I’ve had a little more time to come back to this layer of the multiverse. Guess what I stumbled upon? Lit Hub released an article in the middle of December titled “88 Writers on the Books They Loved in 2022,” and I was shocked to find Tommy Orange’s praise for my debut.

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In Defense of Peripheral Narration: Fitzgerald Vs Hokeah in a Battle of Class, POV, and Power

Have you heard of a book called The Great Gatsby? It’s written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most folks read it in high school. I didn’t make it to high school (the last grade I completed was the sixth grade) so I didn’t read it until I was an adult (after I went on to obtain a Master’s Degree). If you remember, the novel is told by a character, Nick Carraway, about another character, Jay Gatsby. The reason I’m bringing up this particular book is two fold: (1) It’s well known, and (2) it’s a popular example of peripheral narration, where one character tells the story of another character. Don’t worry this is not a rehearsal of Fitzgerald’s novel. Instead it’s an allusion to mine.

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“Stunning” Novel Cover: Symbolic Representations in Post-Modern Art Forms

There are two questions I love most when it comes to talking about my debut novel. One has to do with the structure, with it’s polyvocality laid atop time jumps spanning three decades, and the other has to do with the cover. It’s a striking image. An image that conveys perfectly the post-modern fracture experienced by the main character, Ever Geimausaddle, and his resilient trek through the process of decolonization.

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What it Means to Write Decolonization Literature & Why Native Writers Must Not Be Silenced

The process of decolonization. We hear this a lot, and if you’ve taken a Native studies class then you’ve likely thought about this in different aspects of society. So what does this look like in literature? I’d like to take a close look at decolonization and talk about the importance of allowing people of color to bear witness on the page, to show readers what it’s like to live through sometimes brutal circumstances, and to highlight the dangers of silencing people of color in a Neo-colonial program to whitewash our experiences.

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Vernacular, Agency, & Intersectionality of Language Transformation

Growing up in households where words and phrases in both Kiowa and Cherokee were spoken and mixed with English, it gave me a unique understanding of language. As my family spoke, someone could be both skaw-stee and mon’sape. Skaw-stee is a Cherokee word that means “stuck up,” and mon’sape is a Kiowa word that means “trouble maker.” Mix these words with other phrases and Indigenized English words like gaa which is the Native version of “golly,” and all of a sudden language becomes a playground of agency. Where this Kiowa/Cherokee/Mexican boy had a canvas of words to create a beautiful new symmetry.

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Intro to Literary Fiction: A Native American Writer’s Reasoning Toward Episodic Novel Writing & Unfamiliar Terms in Familiar Terrain

“What do you write?” Have you heard that question before? For literary writers this question is like a grain of dirt on the ass cheek of a wild hog running through the brush in the Ozark Hills. Every time I go to answer the question I know what’s going to follow. It’s going to be another question, with a quizzical expression on the questioner’s face, asking me, “What’s literary fiction?”

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Native Voices for Native Audiobook: Recording Chapters in CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be able to read for my debut novel. Many writers don’t get the opportunity to record for their own audiobooks. Because my novel is polyvocal and comes from the heart of tribally specific communities, Kiowa and Cherokee, I was more than happy when Algonquin Books asked me to read for the male characters in my debut. Moreover, they hired a Native actress to read for the women characters: Rainy Fields.

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The Revival of Juxtaposition & the Reveal of Thematics

When we pick up any literary novel we must commit to being an active reader. We can be entertained by the surface plot and the triangulation between characters, certainly. But the purpose of literary fiction is to dive deeper into the text and search for symbols. Not only the symbols that comprise a larger thematic in a storyline, but, more importantly, the symbols that shape the really real world we walk through every day.

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Highly Anticipated Debut Novel in 2022 from Native American Author

So I know it’s not cool to say “own voice writer” anymore these days, but we have to give credit to the Native writers writing from inside our own tribal communities. It doesn’t happen as often as you might think. And you know what happens even less? When a debut Native writer from inside his tribally specific and historically targeted community gets a little recognition.

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