Sunday, July 15, 2012

Read With Me - The Wake of the Wind by J. California Cooper

Sometimes, moments happen that the ordinary must be shifted for the extraordinary.

I am just beginning my reading and prospective review of The Wake of the Wind and decided that I needed to share this important excerpt and challenge you to buy, borrow, or ebook this challenging story.  It is speaking to us in the times we are in. Listen, learn, and live, my people.

"I am Africa. I am a place. I am a state of mind.
Hundred of years ago my children lived free.  We had our skirmishes, within my shores; even small wars that did not disturb my great and sprawling land.  We were not perfect.  But...we never left our shores to seek to destroy and rob any other culture or people; to steal the fruit of their land or minds and leave the land and people ravaged.  Nor did we seek to steal any people's love of themselves.  Nor tell other peoples they were ignorant savages and inferior while we were superior, as the whitish ones said to us.  They lied so much and long they began to believe it themselves.  They cried "GOD" with their mouths while holding a knife in one hand and a gun in the other; slicing and firing at a vibrant life.  When the strange whitish peoples came they brought with them their diseases, diseases frown from filth and spread with alacrity.  They also brought with them other diseases including endless greed, envy and hate; our nations changed.  yes, they, the savages, called us savages.  but, now, look... the true savages are they, the strange whitish ones.  They kill for land, women or gold, spreading their savageness to all others, even among themselves.  And...they have not influenced others. Anatema!

They spoke of their civilizations. Civilized is not what most of them are or do.  They ridiculed our raiment. Because they wear European clothes; what have clothes to do with the character of the soul?


They are proud of their concrete streets and steel buildings, but are they happy owning them? No. They are only hard places to form more hard plans.


They, the whitish ones, have built a world they no longer wish to live in.  Now ... they reach out to space. But, if there is life in space...and if that life is wise...they will not let the whitish ones invade space.  after all, they had the earth and see what they have done with it.  Also, they took my children, the people of Africa.  They have desecrated the earth, and are enraged because they have not extinguished my children; my African people have survived.

I have made note of one other thing.  One must not be the worst of what the enemy is.  Among the whitish ones...there are those who do have a heart. Who are souls that can contain love, not just fear. These are the good who are dispersed, here and there, throughout the land. but...I say to you, my people, you do not need sticks and guns, they do not often help,. You need brains...and love...which you have in abundance as your motherland has, still, and abundance...of everything."

excerpt from The Prologue, pp. 1-2

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nowhere Is A Place by Bernice L. McFadden

Once again, Bernice L. McFadden, invites you in, gets you comfortable, and keeps you intrigued to the very last page, and even then, like a sweet, succulent piece of Georgia peace cobbler, refused to let you go until you have enjoyed every last tasty morsel.  That is the story of Nowhere is a Place. Nowhere Is a Place

This is one of the most intriguing dual books I've ever read, the journey, much like that of Sherry and Dumpling, taking me whereever the road led, time non-existent, and the destination merely a moment, the steps and stops along the way were the real experience.

Tracing, confronting, and accepting one's family heritage is a process, especially for a lot of black Americans who can only trace their family line back three or at most four generations post slavery.  The Lessing family is different in that there was a beginning and three generations before the beginning even changed the course of the story, with an Indian girl, immersed in her tribe, living and co-existing on the land until the white men with guns came and changed the trajectory of not only her story, but the paragraphs of all the family that would follow.

There were times when I felt like I was in the SUV with Sherry and Dumpling, gaining understanding of the mother-daughter dynamic, envisioning what it would be like when my own daughters grow up and perhaps take me on a cross country journey.  I imagine, like these two, that there would be some testing and trying to understand who they were as women that shared blood and lines.  It was on this journey, the book I thought I was reading, that McFadden revealed to me the true story that she wanted me to know, the story of a family but also of a people who endured the impossible to gleam hope, acceptance, and love.

McFadden is a brilliant writer, a true griot in the truest African form.  She understands the place of time without time and that those who have left this space are still in our existence, influencing, guiding, and encouraging us to keep on the journey.  She also helps us to understand that there are some things that are so universal, regardless of day, month, year, decade, or century, love is love, lust is lust, pain is pain, and forgiveness can wash away a multitude of sin.

Kin, clan, relations all have important meaning to me.  Like Lou, like Suce, like Lovey and Dumpling, I lost my mother at a young age.  A motherless girl is always searching for herself.  I found myself yearning for them to find that comfort and peace and fill the space of their heart.  I think it was the mother and the daughter that kept me hopeful and satisfied that one can fulfill the other in a way that only women can heal women.

This was an excellent story that flowed from one place I expected to go and held my hand, carried me down a road to where truth would smile down on a clear day and accept me as one of her own.

Bernice L. McFadden, "I write to breathe life back into memory." Truly, this was the case with this book.  Very well done.

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