By Leslie Silko, Larry McMurtry

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I didn’t have a literary agent then to explain that publishers preferred novels. I had no intention of writing anything but short stories for Viking Press; I felt confident about the short story as a genre, but aside from being a voracious reader of novels from age ten, I neglected to take that course the English Department offered on The Novel. No way I was going to mess with success. Short stories, that’s what I’d write. I used my writer’s grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to pay for day care for Caz while Robert was in school.

The little boy was wearing an Army hat that was too big for him, and when he saw Tayo looking he smiled; then the child disappeared through the wide depot doors. The depot man helped him get up; he checked the tag on the suitcase. ” Tayo shook his head; he was beginning to shiver all over. ” “Oh, that was some years back. Right after Pearl Harbor. But now they’ve turned them all loose again. Sent them home. ” His voice sounded faint to him. ” He nodded and looked down the tracks. The depot man glanced at a gold pocket watch and walked away.

Tayo didn’t sleep well that night. He tossed in the old iron bed, and the coiled springs kept squeaking even after he lay still again, calling up humid dreams of black night and loud voices rolling him over and over again like debris caught in a flood. ” Sometimes the Japanese voices came first, angry and loud, pushing the song far away, and then he could hear the shift in his dreaming, like a slight afternoon wind changing its direction, coming less and less from the south, moving into the west, and the voices would become Laguna voices, and he could hear Uncle Josiah calling to him, Josiah bringing him the fever medicine when he had been sick a long time ago.

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