Colloquial Traits in Tribal Regionalism

Often I sit here in front of this computer and think about how to capture the voice of a narrator.  Voice is the darkness around the thief, his soft footsteps, and his choice of victim.  There is nothing innocent about what we writers do.  We’re persuasive colonizers seeking to intrude on your sensibilities.  We’re convincing–softly […]

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Twitter Serves Minority Writers: Intro to New Agent & #DVpit Success

Metaphorically #DVpit becomes water.  Likewise, I could say Twitter is some type of container–a canteen maybe–something tethered to your belt.  Whether you’ve been slinging a sledge hammer to break rocks or ripping callouses off your hands for grip on a climb, you’re exhausted and you could use a drink.  What you need is opportunity and […]

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Reductive Discernment Between the Crabs in the Barrel and Fake In’dins

You’ve done the work.  Wrote the story, painted the painting, soldered the jewelry, sculpted the clay, or weaved the basket.  You’ve put in the hours at the workstation, lost yourself in the art, creating work unique and powerful and meant to contribute to a collective of voices echoing from generations past.  Then you take the […]

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The Art of Reaction & Trusting Our Protectors

One of the beautiful behaviors of people is our need to protect. We don’t like bullies.  This becomes more the case the older we get.  There is something about seeing someone being treated terrible that we can’t stand.  Maybe it’s a new comer who is unjustly getting targeted, or it could be someone vulnerable who […]

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Lies, Love, & Magic: How Voice was Hijacked by Editor Mysticism & Workshop Critique BS!

The sought after and mysterious “voice” of writing.  You watch editors salivate like Derridean defeatists about how magical voice can be when it “makes your foot tap to the rhythm.”  Aww, how romantic.  We are lovely romantic beings who need magic in our lives.  Well, I’m about to take the magic out of the what, where, […]

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Hyperlocal Advocacy in Native American Literature

I’ve been promoting my writing on my Twitter account for a few months now.  Slowly but surely I’m getting more and more engagement and I’m nearing the cusp of 9K followers, and hoping to hit the 10K plus realm within a week or so.  One of my followers, and now a tried a true fan, […]

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Humanitarian Effort for the Rich: Hollywood’s Humanizing Project

When I watch movies, I tend to watch independents.  Sometimes I’ll watch the Hollywood independents, if it looks like they’re only going to modestly apply structuralism.  I like to think I’m savvy.  I don’t want to feel like I’m a monkey watching for bananas, which Hollywood has turned into a science.  If you don’t know how […]

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When the Community has a Voice

Let’s say you’re in the office and you’re telling a story about someone.  First you talk about what the person did. Maybe it’s something juicy, like a secret infidelity with a prison inmate, or maybe it’s something subtle, like they moved away from home.  Then you go on to tell about something more recent, like, “Just […]

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Seeing through Layers like Blankets on a Cold Night

My father was am immigrant from Mexico.  My mother a full blood Kiowa/Cherokee from Oklahoma.  They worked the peanut and cotton fields when my sisters and I were young.  I remember ducking the large rolling water sprayers in the fields; I remember the heat coming from the dirt onto my bare feet; and I remember living […]

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Being In’din 101: Where Native American Culture Meets Novel Writing

“There’s not much culture in this writing,” I’ve heard students say when critiquing student work or reading the novel of a Native author.  Or they’ll say, “It looks like the main character is having an identity crisis,” and it can sound dismissive, but there’s something we have to understand about most Natives:  We move deep […]

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Main Character Slam, Drop, Kick!

Revision is a little punk b#?ch!  There I am toiling away on the second draft, almost to the end of the novel and starting to think about characters in the novel (mentally preparing for the “sweeps” portion of my revision process), and then I come to realize my main character is an asshole.

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#1 Writing Rule: Be Teachable

We writers area equal parts ego and vulnerable.  The cliché is to develop a “tough skin” over the years and be able to take criticism.  But we all think we’re geniuses, and we are. Brilliant beasts who are magical at hiding our softest parts behind a shield of “I already know” and “You just don’t understand […]

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