Words And Places native literature from the american southwest
 

Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems
with
Leslie Marmon Silko

Storytelling

Telling Coyote Story to Sons, Robert and Cazimir


Look where all the Marmon houses are, down below the village here. We're closer to the river than the rest of the village. I always thought there was something symbolic about that placement, sort of putting us on the fringe of things. So when I was a kid growing up, the river was really close by.

I was always fascinated with the river. I loved the river very much, but I knew it was a small river and I didn't make great demands upon it. There were always stories, I don't know, you just start hearing about things. The river's the one place where things can happen that can't or won't ordinarily happen in the middle of the village obviously. What gradually happens with the river is that you begin to know the river in many different ways sort of simultaneously. And it's not clear to me which comes first, the way the river is or the Yellow Woman stories about the river, which controls, which makes. I sometimes think that it's the Yellow Woman stories that make the river so seductive and sensual and not the way the river is that adds to the story. There was one point when I began to see, when all those things began to come together and I think it was in the writing. All of these stories and all of these things come together and the river takes on a kind of identity and becomes a very special place.

When I think now about how I've written in the stories or in that sort of poetry piece, "Storytelling," suddenly I realize my sense or my feeling of the river comes from all these places, that identity.

You know, a lot of people make a mistake when they hear me talk and they hear me laugh about the storytelling and I think they're confused, they don't understand. If people can't listen to you without being pompous about it, they don't deserve to hear what you have to say anyway. But it's very important, and it's not just gossip and those aren't just stories. It's the whole basis for what keeps the people together. Everything that they know, they know through all time about each other and about themselves.

Return to the contents page for
Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems

By This Song I Walk: Navajo Songs | Seyewailo: The Flower World Yaqui Deer Songs | The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative and Ba'ts'oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle | Iisaw: Hopi Coyote Stories & Hopi Songs | Natwaniwa: A Hopi Philosophical Statement | Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems | Songs of My Hunter Heart: Laguna Songs and Poems | A Conversation with Vine Deloria, Jr. | Home