Archive: 1. Cussin'


I fell in with Oglala Lakota brothers at Pine Ridge Reservation. This helped me through some of the most harrowing terrors of writing The Hummingbird's Daughter, and gave me a couple of my favorite short stories--not least of which is the NPR "Selected Shorts" perennial, "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses."

Better than all this, of course, if friendship. And of my friends, DuaneBrewer is the best cusser. Cussing is a fine art, and I enjoy it. I was told by an angry book club maven in Pasadena, "If you had used language in my house like you use in Hummingbird, you would have been punched in the mouth." My first thought was: wow, what a spiritual place your house was! All I could think to say to her was, "It isn't about your house, it's about somebody else's house."

In 1991, Duane unleashed my all-time favorite curse. A curse thunderous in its outrage, mad in its locution, hilarious in its funk. Damn! He was rockin'! I hope to quote it on my death-bed. It is a great American poem. He said:

That guy
is a low-life
et up
dried out
box of Kentucky
Fried Chicken.


el poquito (not verified)

On your death bed? Hey man, you best start practicing -- then in your older years really letting 'er rip so that when you ARE on your death bed you can let it rip like only you could.

Practice makes perfect.

Cara Lopez Lee (not verified)

Duane sounds like the Michelangelo of cursing. The delicious low point here is the disgusting image of the dessicated Kentucky Fried Chicken box, which, as we all know, would still have crumbs and grease clinging to it, no matter how much one tried to lick it clean, or how long it sat drying out. Comparing someone to such a foul remnant is an exquisite insult, indeed.

Luz Nuncio Schick (not verified)

Yup, that one's a beauty, all right!


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Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

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