Get a Closer Look Inside the Mind of Author Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie, author behind The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, graciously sat down with YouTube Channel BigThink for an interview. Although the interview itself took place in 2012, it’s still a wonderful peek into the mind of this extremely talented Native American writer.

Alexie begins by saying he’s not just a novelist—after all, aside from writing books and being an acclaimed author, he often writes poetry, performs stand-up comedy, and “helps to make movies.” His multitude of skills allow him to work in different fields, which helps his work appeal to a diverse range of people.

One of the first questions he’s asked is if he feels authors who do anything other than write their novels are selling out. Alexie counters that anyone who has grown up poor would never use the phrase “selling out.” He also adds that his multi-genre talents were originally influenced by other Native American artists like Leslie Silko, and he jokes that “nobody ever told [Silko] when he was growing up that he had to stick to one thing.” Alexie points out that he wasn’t thinking of the “economic possibilities” either when he decided to dabble in novel writing, poetry, and film making. Instead, he did so because he saw the artistic possibilities in them.

Alexie was also questioned about his connection between his writing and his stand-up comedy routines. He responds that being a storyteller is an old profession that isn’t limited to books—after all, there have always been weavers of stories standing by the fire and spinning their tales. On a more serious note, Alexie adds that humor transcends people’s differences and helps them understand others better as well.

If you’re a fan of Sherman Alexie or simply want to learn more about this fascinating author, his interview with BigThink is both terribly funny and educational at the same time.

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