Before his PA&L lecture at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Sherman Alexie visited Franklin High School and the Native American Youth Family Center (NAYA). At both visits, Alexie kept his audience laughing throughout. When a student asked about his sense of humor, Alexie responded that humor is a response: one can either laugh or cry. He also said he uses humor to challenge people, and that humor can be deadly serious.
At Franklin, students had to apply for one of 35 spots at the intimate gathering in the library. Fifteen members of the Native American Club were also there. He teased the Native American students about having iPhones and listed the great things they had in common, saying, “We’re funny. We’re cool-looking. And 99% of the rest of the world loves us; just not the people who live next door.” He commented on how artistic Native American culture is, noting that it is ordinary to paint, dance, bead, weave, or sing. As for Alexie, he chose to pursue the art of storytelling.
At NAYA, Alexie spoke of feeling conflicted about leaving the reservation to attend school at Rearden HS, saying, “After leaving to school I felt separate, but through writing I felt like I belonged again.” He spoke of reading the anthology Songs From This Earth On Turtle’s Back and realizing that he could write poetry about his own experiences.
Both groups asked Alexie for advice to young people who want to write. He responded that they should “read books, books, books, books, books, books. Books. The formula should be to read one thousand pages for every one page you try to write,” and, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to how many books you read.”
Incite: Queer Writers Read
September 6, 2017
A new curated reading series for Queer writers hosted by Kate Carroll…
Francis Ford Coppola in conversation with Melena Ryzik of The New York Times
October 2, 2017
Tickets start at $15, available at Portland5.com. Francis Ford Coppola is an…
2017/2018 Portland Arts & Lectures
October 12, 2017
The 33rd season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the…
Bookmark: A Benefit for Literary Arts
October 25, 2017
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for our cocktail hour with dinner…
Joe Biden: American Promise Tour
November 30, 2017
Literary Arts will host Joe Biden on Thursday, November 30 in celebration…
The Moth Mainstage
December 11, 2017
The Moth returns to Portland on Monday, December 11. This extraordinary performance…