I know there has never been a human being or a television show, no matter how great, that could measure up to a great book.

There is a good day to die and there is a good day to play the piano.

I suppose, in many ways, one never stops loving the people they loved during their youth. Or hating the people they hated.

I didn't know what to say to her. What do you say to people when they ask how it feels to lose everything? When every planet in your solar system has exploded?

Have I chosen friends because they smell like absence?

Thing is, I don't believe in ghosts. But I see them all the time.

If you want to make a white man cry, despite the amount of time it's been since he last wept aloud, then all you have to do is employ baseball and father in three consecutive sentences.

Can a writer forget something that he's written in one of his own books? Yes, of course.

Fuck you,' Samuel said as he stole the ball, drove down the court, and went in for a two-handed, rattle-the-foundations, ratify-a-treaty, abolish-income-tax, close-the-uranium-mines monster dunk.

But he wasn't ugly, just misplaced and marked by loneliness.

That's how it was. How do you kill somebody accidentally?

But the real interesting stuff is in the cellar and the attic.

Son, things have never been like how you think they used to be.

God, I wanted to be forgiven, but an apology offered to a dead man is only a selfish apology to yourself.

She shook my hand, loosely, like Indians do, using only her fingers. Not like those tight grips that white people use to prove something. She touched my hand like she was glad to see me, not like she wanted to break bones.

Good art is not universal. Bruce Willis is universal.

She'd teach him nineteen different ways to spell matriarchy.

He was the loser Indian father of a loser Indian son living in a world built for winners.

I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.

The reservation doesn't sing anymore but the songs still hang in the air. Every molecule waits for a drumbeat; every element dreams lyrics. Today I am walking between water, two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen, and the energy expelled is named Forgiveness.

I am a zero on the rez. And if you subtract zero from zero, you still have zero. So what's the point of subtracting when the answer is always the same?

I'm dying from about ninety-nine kinds of shame.

If human beings possessed endless possibilities, then cities contained exponential hopes.

One play can determine the course of a game. One play can change your momentum forever.

Last night I dreamed about television. I woke up crying.

The world is divided by two different tribes. The people who are assholes and the people who are not.

If a tree falls in a forest and gets pulped to make paper for a book that never gets read, but there's nobody there to read it, does it make a sound?

I don't recall the moment when I officially became a storyteller—a talented liar—but here I must quote Simon Ortiz, the Acoma Pueblo writer, who said, Listen. If it's fiction, then it better be true.

Indian boys weren't supposed to dream like that. And white girls from small towns weren't supposed to dream big, either.

So I draw because I feel like it might be my only real chance to escape the reservation.

I'm a features writer, and an Indian at that, so I get all the shit jobs. Not the dangerous shit jobs or the monotonous shit jobs. No. I get to write the articles designed to please the eye, ear, and heart. And there is no journalism more soul-endangering to write than journalism that aims to please.

How much do we remember of what hurts us most? I've been thinking about pain, how each of us constructs our past to justify what we feel now. How each successive pain distorts the preceding.

My parents came from poor people who came from poor people who came from poor people, all the way back to the very first poor people.

I think you forget things on purpose, my mother's ghost said.

Imagine a story that puts wood in the fireplace.

When anybody, no matter how old they are, loses a parent, I think it hurts the same as if you were only five years old, you know? I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents.

I felt brave all of a sudden. Yeah, maybe it was just a stupid and immature school yard fight. Or maybe it was the most important moment of my life. Maybe I was telling the world that I was no longer a human target.

He was my best friend and I needed him.

Our love will be loud, and it will be bright.

When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.

The world even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know.

He smiled mysteriously. Adults are so good at smiling mysteriously. Do they go to college for that?

Aren't all crimes, by definition, hate crimes? I mean, people don't rob banks because they love tellers.

When you construct a mix tape, the first song you come out with has to be a barnburner.

I grew up in a storytelling culture, a tribal culture, but also in an American storytelling culture.

Do you know why the Indian rain dances always worked? Because the Indians would keep dancing until it rained.

We lived in a small house, so there was no escape from the goddamn racket of her loneliness.

I was emotionally erect.

I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.