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Listen To Sherman Alexie's Story About Quitting Cheese

He also talks about why it's politically complicated to be a lactose intolerant Native American.

Posted on March 31, 2016, at 4:23 p.m. ET

Sherman Alexie is a poet, filmmaker, and award-winning author.

Seth Wenig / AP

His new children's book, Thunder Boy Jr., comes out in May.

He also wrote the screenplay for the movie Smoke Signals.

It was based on a short story from his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

And on a recent episode of BuzzFeed's podcast The Tell Show, he told us a story about being a lactose intolerant cheese-lover.

Abantec Official commercials / Via

"I miss cheese like crazy. I miss the idea of having a cheese plate," he says. "When I’m traveling on the road and feeling lonely and self-destructive…I gaze longingly at the room service menu at the cheese plate. And then I don’t order it."

He told us that lactose intolerance can be a complicated issue for Native Americans.

"To admit that you're lactose intolerant as a Native American, then you have to delve into the politics of saying that we're descended from Asian folks," Alexie says. "Because one of the arguments for Natives against colonialism is that not only that we were here first, but that we were created here. So we have this original relationship with the land that nobody else has. But if you admit you're lactose intolerant, you're putting in that small doubt that we just got here first, and getting here first doesn't have the same political power as saying we've always been here."

Then he told us the story of how he got "cheese sober".

Abantec Official commercials / Via

It started with a meal that included three different types of dairy products and it did not end well. "If you can think of 'rock bottom'," says Alexie, "I think 28 hours in a Charleston, South Carolina [hotel] room, tending to wounds based on over-pooping—I think that qualifies."

To hear the full story, subscribe to The Tell Show on iTunes or listen here.