I Hear the Train: Reflections, Inventions, Refractions by Louis Owens

By Louis Owens

During this refined prose, Owens unearths the various timbres of his voice - humor, humility, love, pleasure, fight, confusion, and readability. We subscribe to him within the fields, farms, and ranches of California. We persist with his look for a misplaced brother and examine in addition to him previous relatives images from Indian Territory and early Oklahoma. In a last part, Owens displays at the paintings and theories of alternative writers, together with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Gerald Vizenor, Michael Dorris, and Louise Erdrich.

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Unlike the rest of us, who were not thought to be 30 REFLECTIONS college material, he knew he would be successful. " Our older brothers and friends were already part of a war in a place called Vietnam, a war that had not become ugly yet for most of us, and we looked forward to our turns at such excitement as soon as we graduated. Spring in the Salinas Valley was warming up with orange poppies, blue lupines, red and white paintbrush, and a vast sea of wild oats on the hillsides. Flocks of blackbirds rose from alfalfa fields to darken the sky and settle again, and mourning doves cooed in the shade all day long.

I had suffered for years from a tormented consciousness of my family's "differencef' from everyone else in the town, and had worked hard to erase that difference in the world I lived in each moming when I left our squalid shack of a home. I did not want to hear my difference articulated by the shadowy mask of my friend. Except for the muscles, I realize now, I did not want to be like him. MUSHROOM NIGHTS 37 "But you're okay" he said. And in his statement I heard more question and wonder than confirmation.

Each m with a compost-filled wheelbarrow took every bit of teenage strength we had. Each day left our bodies wrung, our clothes and hair and pores dense with the rich feel and smell of horse shit and fermented straw. 32 REFLECTIONS We pitchforked the compost into the beds, leveled it, broadcast mushroom spawn over it, and then covered that with an inch of sterile dirt. Almost at once, it seemed, mushrooms emerged, and when they were firm, creamy unopened buttons, those of us with the proper skill harvested them.

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