With Louise Erdrich at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts

Last night was a night sky gleaming with stars. Louise, one of the organizers and I threaded through black back streets on the shortcut to the hotel, through ghostly condos occupied only a few weeks out of the year. One lone Navajo came to the performance, a young man Louise met when she was walking around town. He was lonely for Indians. I know the feeling. I am often lonely for Indians, and lonely for a night sky lit up with stars, like last night. It is the other part of us. Only a sliver of our consciousness occupies the body. More enters when we honor the Creator by creating, or when we see someone (human, sun, stone, creature) as ourselves. The rest of it lives there, in the stars.

October 13, 2006 Ketchum, ID


jbanholzer said...

Great show last night in Ketchum! I have the same "Protecting America from Terrorism since 1492" T-Shirt as the lonesome Navajo visitor. A topical shirt with Columbus Day and all.
Supposedly the Senior Center in Hailey here, choose to honor Columbus day, rather than Martin Luther King Jr. day, when it came down to a choice between one of the two.

Dozens of outstanding gems emanated from you, Joy and Louise last night. I was happy as a heathen to worship your microcosmic solar flares. In particular, "It says something terrible about us, when the lowest paying jobs are child care and elementary school teaching." -Those which should be the most important. "Even the Sun knows when it made an error,'I made my mistake.'

The talk about healthy varieties of Bananas in Hawaii reminded me of this phrase I wrote after visiting a South American exhibit of 100 potatoes of different sizes, shapes and colours at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.:
"Discovering multiple varieties of potatoes in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, was a rush for me. Scientists explain that not only is variety the spice of life, but that cultivating such diversity enables farmers to have options to choose by, in the event some potatoes comform to blight or nematodes. Limited homogenized forms of pototoes can be boring. So too it is the same with human beings. And the Abe Lincoln memorial celebrates this fact. Multiculturism is a forgotten cornerstone of this country. "Give me your huddled masses" is what another fine figurine, The Statue of Liberty (donated by France) beckons. Though nowadays Lawrence Ferlinghetti has a great unfinished painting of Lady Liberty currently posted on his City Lights website saying, "Don't give me Your Huddled masses"

I found it interesting that government agents forbid the speaking of Objibwei in the fifties / early sixties. How soon it was forgotten / unappreciated how Navajo code-talkers helped save our butts in WW2.

Hearing how spirits come and find you if you show up with intent at scheduled times for focused writing, made some in the audience laugh. But for those of us who have had this repeatedly happen, it's a nice resource to know in the back of your head that this does happen. And helps brine us out of our saltiest moods.

Stephen King says that writing is sometimes like navigating a bathtub across the ocean. There's plenty of time for doubts.

As far as Faulkner drinking and writing, Hemingway here split the pie in three with kids. I wonder which slice came in third?

Thanks again for helping us all "Train our eyes upon the Truth" -just a little bit more.

JBanholzer said...

This week I had an experience that made me look back at that Columbus Day weekend that you, Joy, and Louise Erdrich shared stories with a captivated audience at Sun Valley’s Community Library.

After the two of you spoke, I discovered your blog and saw that the settings were such that I had to sign up to contribute comments. I signed up and was delighted to see that you accepted my comments on your blog -which were my first comments ever on anybody’s blog.

This is remarkably parallel to my recent experience, listening to Nez Perce elder Horace Axtell, ruminating over ancient days and performing prayer-songs at the same great library. After returning home from that enlightened evening, I noticed that some of my former coworkers invited me to submit story ideas for their new facebook forum. To submit ideas there, once again, I was required to sign up - which I did.

Both events reminded me of a resonating piece of advice coming though a South American shaman three years ago when he suggested that I, "Listen to the indigenous" I find it interesting that by doing so, it's been leading me to better technological tools for crafting constructive words of peace.

I think it’s a powerful synchronicity, this came to my attention on Martin Luther King Day, and on the twilight of Obama’s inauguration. Not only that, but tomorrow morning during the swearing-in, I’m supposed to share coffee with the same beautiful woman who gave me the news tip about how the Senior Center participants voted to recognize Columbus Day over MLK Day! I think your blog will be a good subject for her and me to talk about, and now that my laptop is again functional, I look forward to introducing her to your writings.

Thank you,

Jim B.