Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women

By Hertha D. Sweet Wong; Lauren Stuart Muller et al. | Go to book overview

Burned Alive in the Blues

Paula Gunn Allen

The thing to remember about life is it causes death. It’s about fire, truth to tell. You know, you eat and breathe to get fuel to run the body, right? And a calorie is a way of measuring the burn, which is what happens. Your body, employing oxygen just like any merry blaze does, burns the stuff you eat and drink. Over time, the oxygenation process, which you gotta have to live, causes a build up of ashes, just like the Catholics say. It’s those ashes that slowly make things break down. Now, of course, the new craze is anti-oxidant type supplements, to get a slower burn. Funny to think of carbon-based life forms as the type of cosmic dust that burns itself up. Well, it’s ecologically sound, I’ll give it that.

But, here’s the thing: some lives burn up faster than others, and while the medicos can talk about what you eat and whether you work out and all that physical stuff, how many are talking about soul-burn? It seems to me that some people have too much oxygen, and that makes them burn bright and burn out quick. A flash that dazzles, and then the dark. Of course, the dark isn’t. I mean, after the afterimage fades from your retinas, you can see that the stars are all over the sky. In time, you get just as dazzled by starlight as by lightning flash-burn. And maybe starlight-burn lasts longer.

Or maybe some people get so caught up in the winds of the times, especially when like now everything’s changing faster and faster so that the energy moves faster and hotter, and it steals all the air out of their lungs. You know, like happens in a firestorm where anything not made of metal ignites. There was this one grass fire, out on the plains in the Midwest, and a couple of kids were on the wrong side of the blaze. They tried to run through the fire and the hot air stole the breath from them. They collapsed in the middle of the blaze. You could see them trying to scream, but the heat had taken all the oxygen so they had no breath. They were burning alive, see.

I think chindi* does that to you, so you don’t want to get caught in one. It seems to me that eras are like people in that way. Like some are firestorms so hot that everything ignites, everyone who tries to run through the flames has their breath

* According to Allen, chindi is the Diné word for dust devil or whirlwind.

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 312

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.