Thank You, Alice Walker

Nobody knows unless I speak it, put it out into the world, just how truly difficult some writing roads can be. Especially if self-worth is fledgling in its growth in a once broken heart. Writing is my life. Now that I understand this, now that I’ve lapped it up with my tongue, swished it around inside my mouth, now that I have swallowed it and felt it bloom inside of me— I have finally learned to accept this complete truth about the me who has been unfolding.

I must give prostrated thanks to Alice Walker. Good grief, how she has stepped into my life in recent weeks through words she wrote, even if decades ago. How she has simply walked into my kitchen and sat alongside at the table, crawled with me under covers and whispered before I fell asleep, kept me company on grocery lines, turned my head away from internet distractions where rabbit holes sing my name.

Alice Walker, the writer. A black woman. A sister and friend to my reading life. So gentle in her written voice. No arrogance, no academia haughtiness or jargon, no- you should be blacker than you are, no- you are too black, no people are people— stop talking about race. None of that. Just, hey you, I see you. I’ve been where you are and I know how hurtful and confusing it can all feel. Simply, oh yes, I too have fallen down and sometimes I screwed up, no different from any of the rest of us as we navigate this gorgeous world of chaos and noise . Simply, you are so worth my putting pen to paper, this is for you. Simply, you can do no wrong in our creative world, say your piece, hold your head up, you deserve to be here.

Alice Walker, thank you thank you, THANK YOU.

 

What good was the Civil Rights Movement? If it had just given this country Dr. King, a leader of conscience, for once in our lifetime, it would have been enough. If it had just taken black eyes off white television stories, it would have been enough. If it had fed one starving child, it would have been enough.
   If the Civil Rights Movement is “dead,” and if it gave us nothing else, it gave us each other forever. It gave some of us bread, some of us shelter, some of us knowledge and pride, all of us comfort. It gave us our children, our husbands, our brothers, our fathers, as men reborn and with a purpose for living. It broke the pattern of black servitude in this country. It shattered the phony “promise” of white soap operas that sucked away so many pitiful lives. It gave us history and men far greater than Presidents. It gave us heroes, selfless men of courage and strength, for our little boys and girls to follow. It gave us hope for tomorrow. It called us to life.
   Because we live, it can never die.

~Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens

 

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The writer— like the musician or painter — must be free to explore, otherwise she or he will never discover what is needed (by everyone) to be known. This means, very often, finding oneself considered “unacceptable” by masses of people who think that the writer’s obligation is not to explore or to challenge, but to second the masses’ motions, whatever they are. Yet the gift of loneliness is sometimes a radical vision of society or one’s people that has not previously been taken into account.

~Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens