Sunday, March 31, 2019

Beloved Changed The Game

Beloved is a novel that burst on the literary scene and you had to stop and take notice.

This was written by a black woman.

Toni Morrison.

At a time when there had been Black women writers before her, but the notoriety and prestige and readership was not what writers of lighter hues enjoyed.

She wrote, anyway.

She was older, Black, divorced, mom, and picked up her pen.

This was not her first novel.

But it was one that changed the world.

Mystical? Yes.

Spiritual?  Yes.

Ghost story that could rival Jordan Peele's new movie? Yes.

All of that wrapped up in the retelling of a Black woman's decision to make a different choice for her children and not have them be fodder for more white men's folly.

It shifted and changed the narrative.

Books have been written about that book.

Sermons have been preached about that book.

Lectures have been given about that book.

Academic papers have been written about that book.

Films have been made about that book.

Today, I celebrate that in 1988, this seminal novel was awarded the Pulitizer Prize.

I couldn't read it when it first came out in 1987, I was a young woman, a new mother, and wasn't ready for the lyricism of Toni Morrison's writing.

When I did finally pull my copy off the shelf and read it, my spirit leaped and my heart danced for her brilliance. I introduced it to my daughters and we read it ne summer in the Hurston & Hughes Literary Circle.

Toni Morison is still writing, I just received her latest collection of essays and thoughts. She is well into her Elder years and is still inviting us to consider the story.

Today, I pause and celebrate this brilliant work and if you haven't read it, invite you to consider it.

Can't Wait

I started a journey.

It was a journey of self and discovery.

And more reading than my eyeballs could handle.

I entered seminary.

And in a few months, I graduate.

I have a growing stack of to-be-read and reviewed books.

And I can't wait.

So many wonderful authors.

In the meantime, I've encountered stories of another sort in seminary. I've been engaged in the Hebrew Bible, biblical interpretation, and read some amazing rewritings by Black women scholars.

I own more books.

And wait for the moment when I can discover the wonder in those pages.

While I was away, I found solace in bookstores, between study sessions and 1000 word essays, and purchased new works from PanAfrican writers.

I'm culling a list of must-reads for this summer to share with the Hurston & Hughes Literary Circle. That never stopped on my way to the M.Div. This year, we are super excited the world of Black Female Literary Works is even greater with new works for the YA audience. My teenage daughters have plenty of options to see themselves in the pages.

It is our story to tell, we have to tell it and write about it and encourage it.  So, what are you reading? What are you excited about reading?  Me? I'm currently reading three non-fiction pieces, because seminary and graduation looms. One is Too Heavy A Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 by Deborah Gray White. Another is Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation by Dr. Imani Perry. And Another is The Forgotten reed: Christianity's Original Struggle against Bigotry, Slavery, & Sexism by Stephen J. Patterson.

Tell me what should be on my post-graduation, summer 2019 list?

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