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Sherman Alexie's Quotes

Sherman Alexie profile photo

Born: 1966-10-07
Profession: Writer
Nation: American
Biography of Sherman Alexie

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I thought I'd been condescended to as an Indian - that was nothing compared to the condescension for writing young adult literature.

Tags: Thought, Writing, Young

I wanted to do a weird book and reestablish my independent, small-press roots.

Tags: Book, Wanted, Weird

I've come to the point in my life where I encourage young Native Americans to become much more selfish about their personal needs and wants.

Tags: Life, Selfish, Young

In a real-world way, my gifts are very limited in terms of what I can do.

Tags: Gifts, Limited, Terms

My career means, if you're a non-Indian writing about Indians, at least there's one Indian in your rearview mirror.

Tags: Career, Means, Writing

My father is an amazing man.

Tags: Amazing, Father

My father was always depressed. When he was home and sober, he was mostly in his room.

Tags: Father, Home, Sober

My name is Sherman J. Alexie Jr., and I am an insomniac.

Tags: Name

My wife was the first romantic partner who understood both American and native parts of me - not so much the positive stuff, but the damage.

Tags: Positive, Romantic, Wife

Nostalgia is always doomed and dooming.

Tags: Doomed, Nostalgia

Spiritual matters should be private.

Tags: Matters, Private, Spiritual

The people who loved me when I was seven years old love my books, and the people who didn't like me when I was seven years old don't like my books.

Tags: Love, Loved, Old

There isn't a lot of poverty literature in the young-adult world. And I don't know why that is, but I think certainly I felt a gap.

Tags: Felt, Poverty, Why

Well, I think the worst part about tribalism is its tendency to fundamentalize, and if I can fight fundamentalism in any of its forms I'm happy.

Tags: Fight, Happy, Worst

What inspires a poem for me is usually a moment.

Tags: Inspires, Moment, Poem

When you construct a mix tape, the first song you come out with has to be a barnburner.

Tags: Construct, Mix, Song

White Americans have a short memory.

Tags: Memory, Short, White

Writing is a lonely business.

Tags: Business, Lonely, Writing

You'd never know it from reading the rest of the Native writers, but Indians actually grew up with American pop culture.

Tags: Actually, American, Reading

I don't think there's a whole lot of class literature at all. I think most of that has become racially based, and people don't think of it as being class literature.

Tags: Become, Literature, Whole

In high school I dated a white woman. She would come to visit me on the rez. And her dad, who was very racist, didn't like that at all. And he told her one time, 'You shouldn't go on the rez if you're white because Indians have a lot of anger in their heart.'

Tags: Anger, Dad, Time

My father was sleepless most of his life. So by the age of five, I was awake with him all night long, watching bad television or we'd lie in the same bed, and I'd read my comic books while he read his latest spy or mystery novel.

Tags: Age, Bad, Life

The form I most enjoy writing is the sonnet or sonnet-like forms, where you have a - you know, three stanzas or two stanzas that lead into a concluding couplet.

Tags: Enjoy, Three, Writing

The problem is that too many adults think their kids' lives are simple, or they try to make their lives simple, when their emotional lives are just as complicated as ours. They might have a few less tools to deal with it because they're young, but the emotions are all the same, and the subject matter is all the same.

Tags: Emotional, Simple, Try

There have been players with Indian heritage, but there hasn't been a Native-American professional basketball player who became a regular for all sorts of social and political reasons.

Tags: Basketball, Political, Social

I felt so conflicted about having fled the rez as a kid that I created a whole literary career that left me there.

Tags: Career, Left, Whole
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I don't know what any individual should do about crossing her own borders. I only know that I live a happier, more adventurous life, by crossing borders.

Tags: Her, Individual, Life

I was a controversial figure on my reservation when I was a kid. I was mouthy and opinionated and arrogant. Nothing has changed.

Tags: Arrogant, Changed, Kid

When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author.

Tags: Read, Thankful, Writing

Don't live up to your stereotypes.

Tags: Hands, Time, Writing

The dream he needed most was the dream that frightened him more.

Tags: Dream, Him, Needed

You know, people speak in poetry all the time. They just don't realize it.

Tags: Poetry, Speak, Time

A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. (young adult). is the Garden of Eden of literature.

Tags: Idea, Literature, Young

All I owe the world is my art.

Tags: Art, Owe

I look more Indian when I'm serious.

Tags: Indian, Serious

We all know the Indians were colonized by the Europeans, but every colonized Indian has been colonized by the Indian reaction to colonization.

Tags: Indian, Indians, Reaction

You want the good life? You live where white people live, you go to school where white people go to school, and you shop where white people shop.

Tags: Good, Life, School

Sixty percent of all Indians live in urban areas, but nobody's writing about them. They're really an underrepresented population, and the ironic thing is very, very few of those we call Native American writers actually grew up on reservations, and yet most of their work is about reservations.

Tags: American, Work, Writing

My only purpose is to teach children to rebel against authority figures.

Tags: Against, Children, Purpose

I think that white women are more apt to read laterally. So I think there's some strong identification for women, and their political and social positions, and minorities. I think that the political power of, let's say, the average Indian man and a white woman are pretty equal.

Tags: Power, Strong, Women

I'm a method writer. In order to write about the emotion, I have to experience it. I get physically tired and exhausted, devoting hours and hours and hours to it.

Tags: Experience, Tired, Write

In the middle of the night, when you're ambiguously ethnic, like me, when you're brown, beige, mauve, siena, one of those lighter browns in the Crayola box. You have to be careful of the cops and robbers, because nobody's quite sure what you are, but everybody has assumptions.

Tags: Everybody, Night, Sure

All art is exploitation.

Tags: Art

But the real interesting stuff is in the cellar and the attic.

Tags: Attic, Real, Stuff

Certainly I'm angry at the way Indians have been treated and continue to be treated. But I don't think it's a helpless emotion.

Tags: Angry, Continue, Emotion

I don't have to participate in another culture's ceremonies in order to respect that culture.

Tags: Another, Culture, Respect

I grew up in a storytelling culture, a tribal culture, but also in an American storytelling culture.

Tags: American, Culture, Tribal

I had the feeling I was going to be successful, and I didn't want to be another disappointing Indian.

Tags: Another, Feeling, Successful

I think a lot of Indians want Indian artists to be cultural cheerleaders rather than cultural investigators.

Tags: Artists, Indian, Rather
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