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Author, humorist to speak at Lyceum lecture

Feb. 3, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2013 at 8:02 p.m.


IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Victoria College Lyceum lecture

• WHO: Sherman Alexie, author and humorist

• WHEN: Noon Thursday

• WHERE: Victoria Fine Arts Center, 1002 Sam Houston Drive

• COST: Free

AN EXCERPT FROM 'THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN' BY SHERMAN ALEXIE

"First Grade"

My hair was too short and my U.S. Government glasses were horn-rimmed, ugly, and all that first winter in school, the other Indian boys chased me from one corner of the playground to the other. They pushed me down, buried me in the snow until I couldn't breathe, thought I'd never breathe again.

They stole my glasses and threw them over my head, around my outstretched hands, just beyond my reach, until someone tripped me and sent me falling again, facedown on the snow.

I was always falling down; my Indian name was Junior Falls Down. Sometimes it was Bloody Nose or Steal-His-Lunch. Once, it was Cries-Like-a-White-Boy, even though none of us had seen a white boy cry.

Then it was a Friday morning recess and Frenchy SiJohn threw snowballs at me while the rest of the Indian boys tortured some other top-yogh-yaught kid, another weakling. But Frenchy was confident enough to torment me all by himself, and most days I would have let him. But the little warrior in me roared to life that day and knocked Frenchy to the ground, held his head against the snow, and punched him so hard that my knuckles and the snow made symmetrical bruises on his face. He almost looked like he was wearing war paint.

But he wasn't the warrior. I was. And I chanted "It's a good day to die, it's a good day to die," all the way down to the principal's office.

Author Sherman Alexie is slated to make an appearance at the Victoria Fine Arts Center at noon Thursday.

Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian born and raised in the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Wash., will speak as part of Victoria College's 2012-13 Lyceum Lecture Series.

The author's sharp, humorous and down-to-earth writing is not confined by one spectrum and spreads across varying genres from dramatic, tear-jerking storytelling to imaginative science fiction.

Alexie's new book "Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories," released in early October last year, received rave reviews from newsprint publications across the country.

"He's the American Indian Kurt Vonnegut," said Victoria College English assistant professor Lisa DeVries. "His latest collection, 'Blasphemy,' is the most versatile by far, definitely moving into new territory here. Also, his poetry is probably the least read out of his body of work and probably some of the greatest American poetry being written today."

Alexie also has written "The Business of Fancydancing" and "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven."

The critically acclaimed 1998 film "Smoke Signals" was based on one of Alexie's short stories. He co-wrote the screenplay.

"Smoke Signals" will be screened at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Bronte Room of the Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main St. The event is free and open to the public.

Alexie's topic at the Thursday's lecture is "Without Reservations: An Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic and Highly Irreverent Look at the World."

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