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By Leslie Silko, Larry McMurtry

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I managed to write one short story during that time, about a woman who drowned herself; it wasn’t a good short story but a message to myself. In September after the boys were in day care and school, I tried to write at home but I found it difficult to concentrate: the dirty dishes and dirty laundry seemed to cry out for attention. About this time Richard Whittaker came to my aid. Dick and his family lived across the street from my Silko in-laws. He practiced Indian law mostly for the local tribes, and he was a strong supporter of the Alaska Legal Services program, which employed my husband.

The stories help the people move from imbalance and disorder back to a kind of balance, the balance that comes from the accuracy and depth and beauty of the stories. The importance of faithful storytelling is a strong theme in all of Leslie Marmon Silko’s writing. She knows that the stories won’t save everyone; but, if they are faithfully kept and honored, the people will survive and perhaps in time recover their primal strength. All of Leslie Marmon Silko’s work is infused with reverence for the natural world.

She, like her hero, Tayo, is of mixed blood; most of her work could be said to explore those border-lands of identity experienced by mixed-blood people—individuals who, in a sense, find themselves stuck between cultures, neither wholly in nor wholly out of what may be their native society: too often they are viewed suspiciously by both of the peoples whose blood they carry. Tayo is a World War II veteran who returns from the Pacific war suffering terribly from what was then called battle fatigue and would now be called—as soldiers continue to experience it—posttraumatic stress disorder.

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