Quote of the Day: I once heard a journalist state that to write a book of nonfiction, a book about the lives of others, the writer had to feel in his gut that his informants owed him something, that he owned a piece of their lives. But I don’t think that is true. I think the opposite is true. I don’t think my family or my people owe me anything. I feel that I owe my life to them and I set out to write a book that reflects this, reflects the debt I owe them, and does them honor. To understand American Indians is to understand America. This is the story of the paradoxically least and most American place in the twenty-first century. Welcome to the Rez.
~ David Treuer, author of Rez Life
Me, David, and Krista, my publicist
Krista and I found a sweet way to spend our Valentine’s lunchtime. We went to our local public library to meet author David Treuer and hear his presentation on his newest book, Rez Life. David is Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He has recently moved to California where he is a professor of literature and creative writing at USC in Los Angeles. He said that when he told his friends from Minnesota where he was moving they said, “Why would you want to move there? It’s so dangerous.”
David has an amazing perspective of life both on and off the reservation. He understands that people, traditions, treaties, and boundaries are complex. He brings to light both personal and regional history in his book. Brainerd is one of the first stops on his national book tour.
David said that researching this book was like going back to school. He dug deeper and learned more about his family, his people, and his nation. While he was digging and researching and writing, he kept thinking of his own three children and how this is their story, too. He dedicated this book to them.
Thanks, David, for the great talk today, your words and reading, and the connection we made. Visit David Treuer’s website to learn more about the author and his books and to see if he’ll be in a bookish place near you. He is delightful to meet and interesting to listen to. I’m eager to start reading Rez Life.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Do your libraries or schools invite authors and artists? Write about some of the people you’ve met, what you enjoyed about their presentation, or whom you would like to see?
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Sounds like a perfect way to spend Valentine’s day!
I’m always nosing about libraries, bookstores and writing centres to see who’s appearing. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to write more.
One of my favourites was at a science centre where a retired police officer talked about the reality of crime solving. He said on Criminal Minds and cop shows you’ll see them walk into a dark place with little torches and wave them around looking for clues, in real life they bring in flood lights straight away and don’t let anyone near the scene until they can see what they’re doing.
I’ve seen several authors speak at local libraries in the past, but find that in recent years, those talks have all but stopped here. So how nice you got to converse with David and talk books, writing and life. I like the idea that research is like going back to school. Research is a big part of my writing, and I value the education it provides on subjects I’d otherwise have not known about.
I liked what David said about being plugged into our electronics and computers and how rarely we can communicate face to face. Check your local library and community events and make an effort to see, experience and visit with real life people!
Glad you got to meet him! Occasionally our library brings in authors.
It sounds like he put a lot of heart into this book. We do occasionally have someone come but not as frequent as I would like.
Sounds like an interesting book and a great talk! I love books that draw you in and teach you something about the cultures and histories we often fail to notice — or just take for granted. Thanks for the recommendation!
What a great way to spend Valentine’s day! I’ll check out his website.