Moving onto reading the first chapter, Frank lyrically described Glacier Park at Western Montana—almost like a vivid painting! I couldn't help but to sigh deeply. Montana was my first home here in the United States, and the Rocky Mountains remind me of the majestic Himalaya Mountains near where I grew up. I arrived in Missoula, Montana, in 1997 and finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Montana in 2000. I met my husband there, and my in-laws still live in a remote cabin in Montana Rocky Mountains.
And then there’s the Native American connection. Frank’s encounter with a great Native American storyteller planted the seed for this magnificent novel 30 years later.
When I lived in Pocatello, Idaho, I volunteered at a Native American elementary school. I taught kids yoga and reading. In kindergarten and grade one and two, kids bonded with me instantly because of my black hair and eyes. They were fascinated by China and Kung Fu Panda. On days when I visited the school, they just wanted to drop whatever they were doing and hanging around me, which occasionally disturbed the school schedule.
Besides yoga and reading, we mostly hugged, laughed, and played. Many of the kids lived with grandparents or foster families because their parents were in jail or not able to take care of them. Having had a childhood full of misery myself, I could feel their sorrows. When I held these kids in my arms, we just breathed together and healed together. Honestly, I don’t know who got more out of my visits—me or the kids.
When Frank mentioned his first chapter is called “The Way,” I almost fell out of my chair. My first solo art show was called “The Way-Seeker.” Frank ended his first chapter with, “The way will be difficult.” Yes, the Way will be difficult, but Way-seekers are not afraid of difficulties. It took Frank three decades to complete his book. What is the source that sustains his long journey? What does it mean to be a white writer who gives voices to Native Americans? What would Native Americans think of Frank? Would they consider him one of their tribe?
In the end, are all these connections fate or coincidence? Could it be each of us born with a mission to tell certain stories? Is it possible that we all have been incarnated to different tribes, lived their lives, sung their songs, and thus feel deeply about their joys and sorrows?
Kindly, Frank signed my copy of Dream Singer: “It’s a joy that our paths have crossed—in the Way.”
The parallel universe between Frank and myself perhaps exist for all of us; you and I have lived each other’s lives. When you and I meet each other in the Way, no words are needed. We just hug, and breathe together.