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Wednesday, February 17,2010

Shattering the silence

Author Glancy speaks for Sacajawea

by Bill Castanier

 


As an author, poet and filmmaker, Diane Glancy has dedicated her career to the sounds of silence and what she calls “giving a voice to those who have none.”

The daughter of a Cherokee father and an English-German mother, Glancy grew up moving from one place to another. Most writers have a sense of place that is static. “My sense of place is in the moving,” Glancy says.


She recalls sitting in the back of a classroom as a young child, with no one caring what she had to say or bothering to ask about her opinions. This sense of being alone, without a voice, has become a major theme in her writing.


“I especially like to give a voice to his torical characters who previously had none,” Glancy notes, pointing to her book “Stone Heart” as an example. “Stone Heart” spotlights Sacajawea, the Shoshone woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition, with a baby strapped to her back.


Glancy says Sacajawea had no voice in the accounts of the trip and little was recorded of her view of the momentous cross-country journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean in search of the mythical Northwest Passage. Glancy created a diary of Sacawajea showcasing her lyrical elegance contrasted with the more perfunctory diary entries of the white men.


Now, Glancy, who recently retired from teaching at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., is setting off on her own adventure: filmmaking. She’s adapting her book “Flutie” into a feature film. (She has changed the title to “Under
the Dome” to avoid any confusion with former football star Doug
Flutie.) Glancy began this project in the late 1990s when she was
selected for a Sundance Screenwriting Fellowship.



“I’ve learned (filmmaking) is an expensive, hard, uphill battle, and now I’m looking for funds,” Glancy said.


She’ll show clips from the film as part of her talk at 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22 in the North Conference Room of the Michigan State University Main Library. The presentation is free and sponsored by the MSU Library Writers Project and the American Indian Studies Program.


The young woman portrayed in the book and film is named Flutie Moses. When the story begins, Flutie literally has no voice, but finds one in a migratory journal, similar to Glancy’s own life.


Glancy portrays Flutie as a young woman caught between two worlds.


She admits the material has a somewhat autobiographical bent and is quick to In her historically inspured work, Diane Glancy says she likes "giving a voice to those who have none."


emphasize that it is an everyday story without high drama.


“It is about the significance of a small voice — the significance of ordinary lives under the large, western Oklahoma sky,” Glancy says.



Diane Glancy


5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22 North Conference Room, Michigan State University Main Library Free aisp.msu.edu


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