“What are you writing?” the man at the bar asked me.
“A piece on Turkey’s president who recently said Muslims – not Columbus – discovered America.”
“Well …. did they?”
“Of course not!” I blurted. “And neither did the Jews.”
“So it was Columbus, then. …”
I haven't participated in Thanksgiving for many years now. It is hard to celebrate the holiday when you know that it was created to commemorate the massacre of Indian people.
I live and sleep in the mountains. Been living this way for a year now, so I guess that technically makes me homeless. I know an Indian who was similarly homeless, but she got a PhD and now does research at MIT. So there's always hope for Indians in my situation.
This morning as I sit in front of my eggs, corn beef hash and yerba mate, I am thinking about my next step.
I have been spending less time with my writing as of late as I have been prepping for a second round with the Veteran's Administration.
Sometimes bravery is the smallest of things, a grain of sand lying under a mountain of regret. This, I felt as I watched my mother die. Exactly two years before the moment she left this world, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It started with a pain in her breast that wouldn’t go away.
I remember my first week at Dartmouth College. It was after a week-long bus ride from California. Dartmouth, the Ivies, the East Coast, College in general, they are all worlds away from the reality of the California Rez (American Indian Reservation).
I can close my eyes and remember the day my friend died. I was sitting in the kitchen on the stairs that led to the second floor. It was on the fourth step, where I always sat because it had a large window to my left.
It was a hot summer day. August 16, 1977.
Rats on the platform. Tough guys with tattoos quiver, juke, shriek. Moments later, they're tough again. Dates guffaw. "You're a bitch," one says. "Screw you!" he shouts. "I just don't like them." .... The coward. He leans to vomit on the rails; friends hold his skull.
We arrived at the beach around noon, and everyone there was as naked as a the day they were born, except for the lifeguards – a pair of theatre geeks who were belting out show tunes, flailing their arms at the crescendo, all the while old hippies and young hipsters sat bare-assed behind them, dam
I wake up panting and sweating from every pore. My body is a twitching mass of pain, as usual, and today is a 7 out of 10 day. My normal level is a 4 or 5, just a dull whole body ache that I can work through.
No wonder so many famous authors become alcoholics; it can be a lonely, depressing life.
I never chose a writing career, it chose me. I still recall how excited I was to discover my first new word.
It was bat.
I love music to the point that I taught myself to play some guitar so I could understand how it's created. I guess being the child of a former singer and a former musician has created this hunger for music of any form.
I almost received a new Indian name. It was when Sara and I went to our third Denny's restaurant in three states on the same day. I had been craving Belgian waffles for a week.