In Opening a Bookstore, Louise Erdrich Found Community

The author’s Minneapolis shop, Birchbark Books, offers a wealth of Native American and Indigenous writing.

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Interview by Thessaly La Force

Listen to Erdrich read a version of this story.

My day starts with a couple of dogs — a small black dog and sometimes a large white one. The moment I stir, they react. This is the most exciting part of their day. I let them outside and make strong coffee for myself. Then they come in and I go upstairs, where I try to think of something to write. There’s usually a manuscript going that I can add a paragraph to, or even a few pages — but I don’t work on one piece of writing exclusively, and sometimes I spend days just searching through files, notebooks and piles of jottings on interesting scraps of paper. Occasionally, I tape a bit of paper into a notebook and keep writing where the fragment left off. I don’t use the computer, except to transfer what I’ve written in longhand. Editing or writing on a computer feels cold, removed, mechanical. But I love not retyping entire manuscripts.

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