Just finished reading “Home“, by Toni Morrison. As always, Toni’s writing is beyond predictable, as is her way with wrapping the story around her characters. These passages called most loudly to me:
On childhood freedoms, sibling relationship, and time itself:
“His father’s scolding didn’t matter because he and Cee were free to invent ways to occupy that timeless time when the world was fresh.”
Woman to woman, and as change or community agents:
“As she healed, the women changed tactics and stopped their berating…they practiced what they had been taught by their mothers during the period that rich people called the Depression and they called Life.”
Cee, alone with her strikingly resounding thoughts:
“So it was just herself. In this world with these people she wanted to be the person who would never again need rescue…she wanted to be the one who rescued her own self.”
Writer Observations & Reflections on Story, and the Passage of Time and Space:
“Perceptions alter: fields shrink as age increases; a half-hour wait is as long as a day for a child. The five rocky miles they traveled took the same two hours it had when they were children, yet then it seemed forever and far, far from home.”
Currently reading “House on Mango Street”, by Sandra Cisneros. Can’t wait to share!
Next up is “Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother’s Story” by asha bandele. I’ll report on both when I’m done, amidst all this writing for my own stories and books, which I hope to also publish. I’m a writer, not a blogger.
Other Great Reads that I’ve Read:
“The Prisoner’s Wife” by asha bandele. Absolutely gorgeous read! I really enjoyed this book and asha’s almost effortless delivery of prose and poetry. Her style is inventive, nonconforming, and unapologetic. The few passages below showcase just a bit of what I mean:
“This is a love story, awake and alive. It’s a breathing document, a living witness. It’s human possibility, hope, and connection. It’s a gathering of Spirit, the claiming of dreams. It’s an Alvin Ailey dance, a rainbow roun’ mah shoulder. It’s a freedom song…This story is a reprieve.”
“…I would not be defined by my experiences. I would be defined by what I chose to do with my experiences, if I was open and willing, and uncompromising and honest.”
“The victim couldn’t summon up brand-new colors, spread them across the pages, make a brilliant new-age rainbow, toss it up into the sky, and let it spill royal purple raindrops onto my tongue.”
“The Broken Wings” by Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet and writer (1883-1931), what a beautiful read! The ending is tragic, but the inspiration on Love and Life, and the evil that men do to compromise those seeking to attain it, bodes well with me against the backdrop of a love-starved world. Some of the pondering on the stations of men and women, with regards to arranged marriages, bearing children, political and religious leadership also provides some food for thought. The prose and poetry is almost lyrical, and reads like a beautiful song, weaved throughout its 128 pages.
Some of my favorite lines from this book:
On Sincerity: “…until now I have distilled only one truth out of the whole matter, and this truth is sincerity, which makes all our deeds beautiful and honorable.”
On Women Having/Not Having Children, and the root of the perception thereof: “A barren woman is looked upon with disdain everywhere because of most men’s desire to perpetuate themselves throughout posterity.”
On Transparency: “Everything that a man does secretly in the darkness of night will be clearly revealed in daylight.”
On Remembering Me: “I want you to remember me as a merciful king remembers a prisoner who died before his pardon reached him.” Remember Troy Davis!
I’m creating my own literary canon, which will include the books below. This list is by no means, exhaustive.
- Dr. Maya Angelou‘s Letter to My Daughter
- Jamaica Kincaid’s Autobiography of My Mother (see a theme here?)
- Toni Cade Bambara‘s The Black Woman: An Anthology, and The Salt Eaters
- Anything by Toni Morrison
- Paule Marshall’s Browngirl, Brownstones (I’ve read that one twice already! Very formative book for me), and The Chosen Place, The Timeless People
- Elizabeth Nunez’s Prospero’s Daughter, and Discretion
ON MOVIES & FILMS:
My husband laughs each time we get ready to watch a movie, because I’ve been known to fall asleep early into the movie, and fast! The best bet for keeping me awake during a movie is to select one that challenges my brain as well as my heart and possibly makes me laugh at times. Select one that offers transformation for its subjects; one that deals with deep-hearted matters that offer the ability to radically transform one’s life, thinking, and perspective. There’ll be no backward head-bobbing on these:
- “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Radically different from anything I’ve seen onscreen in a long time. Wildly unpredictable, and certainly left up to several interpretations. Beautifully affecting. (I also posted this review at http://www.fandango.com)
- “Colombiana” with Zoe Saldana. Now that’s some bad-ass fighting! Girl power! Cataleya ain’t taking no shorts, except the ones she’s wearing! LOL! Not sure whether this one makes the cut on transformation, but it was just good to stay awake the entire time, and not see a woman getting hijacked for her goods, for a change.
- “Still Bill ”. Check out “Still a Bill…For Just the Two of Us” for the complete write-up and more! A must-see! You know the music, now know the man. Memorable quotation by Bill Withers from this film:
“It’s okay to head out for Wonderful, but on your way to Wonderful, you’re gonna have to pass through Alright, and when you get to Alright, take a good look around and get used to it because that may be as far as you’re gonna go.”
Hmmm…that’s certainly worthy of reflection. Interesting to hear that from someone who many consider wonderful, or having arrived at Wonderful already.
- “Fried Green Tomatoes” , starring Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, with important guest appearances by Cicely Tyson and Stan Shaw. This is one of my all-time favorites for so many reasons…the laughs, the delicate and provocative take at friendships and relationships among women. I must have seen this one at least three times and intend to see it again. Girl power!
- “Get Low”, starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. Did someone say “funeral party”?!!! Famous line: Asked of Robert Duvall (the town hermit) “How are you today, sir?” His response: “I Am.” What’s not to love? It was a FunkyLB reco.
- “Mother and Child“ , a film by Rodrigo Garcia. The cast is long and well worth it. Stars include: Kerry Washington, Samuel Jackson, Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Jimmy Smits, and David Ramsey. Awesome movie! “…humor and pathos” Yes!