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Alexie’s backwards’ drivers’ back stories


Post by Anna Conti
[Ed. note: Conti is referring to my posts here and here on Sherman Alexie’s talk in Philadelphia.]
alexie, sherman
Thanks for your report on Sherman Alexie (I was hoping the second part was coming soon.) I’ve been a big fan of his for many years – he drops into SF on a fairly regular basis for various events. I first heard about him from poetry anthologies, and had read most of his published poetry before picking up his short stories. He writes about the same characters over and over in all of his work (poetry, fiction, movies) so as you read more if his stuff, you keep encountering these same folks… it creates an incredible richness. For instance, in a story about two women driving in a car that only goes in reverse, they may pass a guy waiting on the side of road for who knows what. That’s the only time in that particular story (or poem) that you’ll see this guy, so he’s just a bit player, of no account, right? Wrong. If you’ve been paying attention you know who this guy is, and you know his huge back story. Some other day, you’re watching a movie about that guy, and who comes barreling down the road, but the women in reverse. In a flash, they’re gone, and you don’t see them again, but you know all these things about them. It must be something like living in a small town, or on a reservation. (image is Conti’s acrylic painting “No Pedestrians” 2003)
conti, anna
–Anna Conti is a San Francisco artist and blogger. See more images and read her lively and photo-rich blog.