Dog Flowers is WGBH’s Bookmarked: The Under the Radar Book Club’s April selection for 2021. Danielle spoke with host Callie Crossley about the process of writing the book and why she chose not to fictionalize her family’s struggles with addiction.
Abalone Mountain Press is a Diné woman-owned press with a mission to create a space for Indigenous voices to be heard without having to accommodate the white gaze. Abalone Mountain Press Podcast focuses on Indigenous writers and their writing journies. Danielle joined host Amber McCrary on Episode 2 of the podcast to talk about Dog Flowers and writing through familial trauma.
Danielle was interviewed by Jessica Douglass for High Country News about her memoir Dog Flowers.
HCN: Are there any particular passages in Dog Flowers that you are most proud of?
DG: There is a passage on this idea of “ghost sickness” that when I first wrote it, I was like, this is it — this is key to how I am thinking about my relationship with my mother’s belongings, with this history and her death. What I say in that section is that I’m not writing about grief, I’m not writing about losing my mother or those feelings of grief, because I don’t think this book really offers you a path through that.
Instead, I’m writing about (how) I feel possessed. I feel haunted by her life as much as her death, and the things that I wanted from that relationship that I didn’t get. I felt most proud when I emerged from the writing of that passage, because I was articulating early on what I was setting out to do.
Danielle has joined the mentor faculty for the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
The Institute of American Indian Arts has played a key role in the direction and shape of Native expression for over 50 years. The IAIA MFA in Creative Writing, now in its seventh year, is expanding on this legacy, graduating successful writers who are making distinct contributions to the body of Native American and world literatures.
Danielle’s essay, “The Origin of My Laugh” was published on June 16, 2020 in The Paris Review.
When my mother died, her best friend Heidi called and told me, “What I’ll miss most is her laugh.”
When my mother called me on the phone before she died, she rarely laughed but often cried.
My mother had four daughters, and I am the oldest. My mother did not raise us…
Summary: A daughter returns home to the Navajo reservation to confront her family’s history and retrace her mother’s life—using both narrative and archive in this arrestingly original memoir.
After Danielle Geller’s mother dies of a withdrawal from alcohol during a period of homelessness, she is forced to return to Florida. Using her training as a librarian and archivist, Geller collects her mother’s documents, diaries, and photographs into a single suitcase and begins on a journey of confronting her family’s history and the decisions she’s been forced to make, a journey that will end at her mother’s home: the Navajo reservation.
Danielle will be attending the Jack Jones Literary Arts Blue Sky Retreat in Taos, New Mexico as the 2018 Natalie Diaz fellow.
An excerpted version of my essay “Annotating the First Page of the First Navajo-English Dictionary,” appeared today on The New Yorker’s website.
The essay (in its entirety) will be published in the forthcoming anthology This Is The Place (Seal Press, 2017).
THIS IS THE PLACE is a collection of personal essays written by 30 amazing women from across the country. The book covers a range of topics from solitude, neighbors, tiny homes and multi-generational living to environmental protection, domestic violence, immigration and patriotism. I have an essay in the collection, and I co-wrote the introduction with my co-editor, Kelly McMasters. Together, Kelly and I selected, edited and arranged each essay in the book. The pieces are by turns deep and dark, complex and shining.
Six emerging women writers have been singled out for excellence by the Foundation and will receive awards of $30,000 each. The 2016 winners are Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Danielle Geller, Jamey Hatley, Ladee Hubbard, Airea D. Matthews,and Asako Serizawa.