Interviewed by Katie Cantwell
M Cid D’Angelo’s short story Road to Tahlequah was published in the fourth issue of Niche. You can read it here.
Meanwhile, we invited him to our blog for a brief chat, and he very kindly agreed.
M Cid D’Angelo’s short fiction can be found in various literary journals, online and in print. He’s been published by Aoife’s Kiss, Eureka Literary Magazine, decomP magazinE, Midway Journal, among others.
NICHE: Tell us a little bit about your creative process? How do you get through difficult spots?
M CID D’ANGELO: I don’t think there is an easy way around them. I, like many other writers, go through “dry” periods where the muse doesn’t sing. No matter how I try, nothing comes out. When it comes to fiction, I’m a draft writer, meaning that I usually just start writing and discover much on the journey. Then I rewrite another draft, and then another, until the draft is set.
NICHE: What are some things that inspire you for stories?
M CID D’ANGELO: They can come out of nowhere. Reading articles in magazines, online. Sometimes other stories inspire too.
NICHE: You dedicate your story to Leonard Peltier and Russell Means. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
M CID D’ANGELO: In 1977, Leonard Peltier, a Sioux Indian and Native American activist, was accused of killing two FBI agents in South Dakota. There is great controversy to his conviction and the investigation; much of which the FBI is considered to have whitewashed and pushed through evidence to convict him when many people believe Peltier is innocent of the crime. “The Road from Tahlequah” is a musing how it would be for an older Native American activist to finally come home after a long incarceration in Federal prison. Russell Means was an outspoken Native American activist and actor I always admired. He passed away a year or so ago. Many people know him for his role as the father of Daniel Day Lewis’ character in the 1992 movie, Last of the Mohicans.
NICHE: You have mentioned that the Road to Tahlequah is particularly special to you due to your Cherokee roots; did that make the story harder to write?
M CID D’ANGELO: Quite the contrary. The Cherokee, after their removal from the east coast to Oklahoma, via the Trail of Tears, there was always a deep-seated resentment in many of the locals about the injustice. It’s a sad story that can ignite much passion.
NICHE: Your characters of Margaret and Tom Long show different sides of a Native American family, could you tell us a little more about them? Do you relate to one more than the other?
M CID D’ANGELO: Margret was inspired off, incidentally, a young Indian – that is, from India – woman. I transposed the character and her flamboyant in-your-face personality that reminded me of some other angst-ridden Native American girls I knew. They have become anglo-sized, that is, desiring to be “white” rather than Native American. I found that character persona to be indicative of the unrest in disaffected Native American youth across the 500 Nations. Tom Long is the old school; he is redolent of the old ideals of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 70s. Nowadays, it seems, that those ideals have been trodden into the muck of forgetfulness, and that the Native American youth who still are harbored on reservations still face a barrier of what was then and what is now. Tom Long represents the courage and the desperation of those who fought for their civil rights while the younger generations are just doing what they can to eke by.
NICHE: What, if anything specific, do you hope readers will take away from the Road to Tahlequah?
M CID D’ANGELO: I want them to know of the other people who share this land with them. That just because they’ve been holed up on reservations far away, that they are still human. That they face not only the hardships of being Native American in the United States, but that their hopes and dreams are very much like anyone else’s.
NICHE: Is there anything else that you want our readership to know?
M CID D’ANGELO: Read. Read. And read some more. Read not only for entertainment, but read because perspectives make a reader worldly. Feel that we are all connected.
This interview originally appeared on Niche’s website on April 12th, 2014.