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 in abandoned farm houses in the Oklahoma fields.  Let me tell you about cold nights.  No, better yet, let me tell you about the warmth you can have from the thin layer of a blanket.

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“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 into the center of culture and back to the periphery like an ocean in symbiosis with the moon.

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“I gotta keep my Capricorn mind straight,” said the planet of Saturn to the writer writing this post.  Okay, so that first sentence had a weird third person shift–almost like a third person shift to a different third person gear, but the first third person perspective was oddly different from the latter, which was equally bizarre but uniquely awkward.  See what I mean?  I do need to keep this Capricorn mind straight.  Saturn was right.

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So I’m about to rant.  I know…you’re saying to yourself, “Oscar, you always rant.”  But this is going to be a special kind of rant.  I’m going to unburden myself with all the reasons why artists need to be supported. In every way, emotionally and financially.  We don’t live in an age of benefactors!  If artists are going to be the voice for the under-heard and disadvantaged, then we need fuel for the fire, we need people surrounding us and giving us the energy to keep fighting.

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I don’t denounce structuralism.  Every time I watch a Disney or Pixar movie with my daughters and tears start welling up in my eyes by simple structural tactics, like music and camera angles, I’m reminded there is a reason it works.  But I’m a literary writer and we are defiant bastards and we like to take structuralism and bend it our will.  So we can look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “The industry will not make me a slave.”

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That’s how far back we’re about to go.  I’m going to use a simile only a certain generation will understand.  Remember tapes?  It kind of sounds odd to say now.  Tapes.  Sounds like a prehistoric infection.  If my kids overheard me ask someone if they “had tapes” when they were a teenager, they would think it was an STD.  Like an old school slang term for gonorrhea.  But I digress, as usual.  I’m about to rewind my tape and take young and old back to my days as an introverted neophyte surviving on southern sweet tea and tapes.

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So what do you do when a character is powerless?  The first thing I tend to do when I’m looking to solve problems in my storylines is to turn to my immediate surroundings.  For some reason, and I’m not sure where I got this from (possibly through reflection in the early mornings as I sip my coffee), I started to realize or assume or maybe just consider that all dynamics of story or narratives are in constant mimesis, so…if there is something missing in my story or novel (as is the case now) I start to look for signs and solutions in my daily interactions—in my immediate.  I believe I’ll see the same thing, conceptually, happen at some point in the day if I just pay attention.

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