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How do we forgive our fathers?

That’s the question posed in a poem by Dick Laurie at the end of the movie, Smoke Signals (1998)—a funny and somewhat tragic film written by Sherman Alexie, and a cinematic litmus test for us guys everywhere.

Because if you’re one of those rare (almost theoretical) men that escaped your father’s shadow without a few scars, emotional or otherwise, you won’t feel the depth of this movie. But if you have father and son issues lurking anywhere in your past, it will hit you like a Louisville Slugger to the gut.

Smoke Signals turned me on to Alexie’s short fiction, which led me to his novels, and his poetry, and oddly enough…the Martinez Foundation Poker Party.

The former Mariners slugger, Edgar Martinez, essentially saved baseball in Seattle with an 11th-inning double against the Yankees. Now he and his lovely wife, Holly, are working on education, hence the Martinez Foundation, and last night’s fundraiser in Bellevue, Washington.

I’m an M’s fan, so when I was invited to be a pseudo-celeb guest player, I was, as they say in Texas Hold-Em—all in. What fan wouldn’t want to play with Edgar, Jay Buhner, Omar Vizquel, and Dan Wilson?

But when I heard Sherman was playing, I could not resist. Playing cards with major league baseball players is cool, but hanging out with the 2010 PEN/Faulkner winner is in a league of its own.

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Reader Comments (4)

I'll have to check out the poem (and movie). While I don't have father-son issues, I definitely have some father-daughter issues. I also wanted to say thank you for writing such a beautiful book ("Hotel..."). I finished it this weekend and thought it was amazing.
January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKoreen
OH MAN. I LOVE Sherman Alexie's work! ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is one of the best YA books I've read, and WAR DANCES is a great little collection as well. I love how he commands literary language and yet infuses it with his humor (and human observations) as well. I mean, I guess that's what we're all trying to do... he does it so wonderfully!

Now the real question is, How is he at poker? :P
January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristan
I love his work because he's "literary" but not stuffy, not showy, not pretentious in anyway, his writing is spare at times but lyrical and emotive. And he's such a nice guy too.

Poker-wise, we were both celeb-guests, so not allowed to advance to the final table, which meant we won, but then had to slowly lose our paying client-golf in Japan... ;)
January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
I'll also have to check out all that you mention (books, movies, poems, etc). Any guy who makes it out without scars from their Pop have got to be fictional.

As for poker, that sounds like alot of fun. That's funny though that you had to graciously lose your chips. In my case, it wouldn't be hard since I'm not an exceptional Texas Hold-em player. But like you (I assume), I'd be going out with a smile.
January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Stallsworth

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