Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (1)
Share on Facebook

black elk in paris

My Uncle Clive ran the general store out at Wounded Knee for many, many years. He kept Black Elk in Campbell's soup and occasionally still received phone calls from John Neihardt after Neihardt and Black Elk had finished their conversations that resulted in Black Elk Speaks. My father tells of a time when he answered my Uncle Clive's phone only to find himself on the line with Neihardt. "Well," I pestered him, "What did Neihardt say?" "He asked to speak with Clive." (My father's stories are often a bit anticlimactic like that. He also has a story about meeting Raymond Burr in an airport. Burr was standing in front of my father in line, doing airporty things, when Burr stepped on my father's foot. "Well," I pestered him, "What was it like?" "He's a big guy -- it hurt." I probably sighed. "Did he say anything," I asked. "He apologized," Dad said.)

I just finished Black Elk in Paris, a satisfying novella that was basically inspired by a comment Black Elk made to Neihardt concerning his time he spent in Paris, staying with a young woman and her family. From this one comment, Kate Horsley has woven a story around Black Elk, who the woman and her family may have been, and created an intriguing character in Phillipe Normand, the narrator.

I initially picked up the novel because of Black Elk. The Sioux are often in the back of my mind, particularly when writing and I wanted to see how someone else had dealt with them. Also, it was Black Elk, and well, you know, anthro-geek, family history and all. And that aspect of the story was cool and fun. But what was really interesting was the character of Dr. Normand and his personal conflicts with his medical profession. Of course, this fits in with this medical anthropology background I've found myself with. I constantly found myself thinking of so many of the issues I studied (like power, practitioner dissociation, etc.), and (probably not strangely at all) of Foucault, but then, I spent an insane amount of time with Foucault.

I also really enjoyed the picture Horsley paints of the late 19th century France. What a fascinating place, a fascinating time, but probably not a terribly great place to live.

Not the best book I've read this year perhaps, but still interesting and enjoyable.

And of course, since I'm always fascinated with the "writerly process", the thought that this writer took a passing comment and turned it into a historical novella is also intriguing.

Read/Post Comments (1)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 JournalScape.com. All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.