Literary Birthday – 7 June – Louise Erdrich

Happy Birthday, Louise Erdrich, born 7 June 1954.


  1. What happens when you let an unsatisfactory present go on long enough? It becomes your entire history.
  2. I think a title is like a magnet. It begins to draw these scraps of experience or conversation or memory to it. Eventually, it collects a book.
  3. When we’re young, we think we are the only species worth knowing. But the more I come to know people, the better I like ravens.
  4. Here I am, where I ought to be. A writer must have a place where he or she feels this, a place to love and be irritated with.
  5. Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
  6. When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.
  7. Things which do not grow and change are dead things.
  8. I tell aspiring writers to keep diaries or journals descriptive of their surroundings, events, people, and stories they hear. These things are difficult to remember later on.
  9. When every inch of the world is known, sleep may be the only wilderness that we have left.
  10. It didn’t occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to… That’s how one has to write anyway—in secret.
  11. When I can’t end a story, I usually find that I’ve actually written past the ending.

Louise Erdrich is an Ojibwe writer of novels, poetry, and children’s books featuring Native American characters and settings. Her novels include Love Medicine, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and The Plague of Doves, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 7th June 2015