Wednesday is hump day …

The early days …

I celebrate the brilliant words of Amy Tan, and revel in the new images of Barbara Delinsky. While the new generation of female writers sits with me in my room, I remember their ancestors … 

Our sisters in love with the word.

Like my parents and brothers before me, my major contribution to the education of my children, falls into the category of books and music.

There is a ying/yang of funny. It brings us to the dark side of comedy … tragedy. The second mask of the legitimate stage.

In other posts I have used the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks and Emily Dickinson, two seemingly opposite “types” of artists. Bah, on what seems to be. Each of them share a love of the world around them, the passion for their art and a devotion to excellence.

Other female poets I found in college are Denise Leverton, Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Zora Neale Hurston and Nikki Giovanni.

For me, Nikki Giovanni’s work not only embodies the black experience, the black women’s experience, it also embodies the experience of women.

I’m Not Lonely 

I’m not lonely, sleeping all alone, you think I’m scared, but i’m a big girl, i don’t cry or anything

I have a great, big bed to roll around, in and lots of space, and i don’t dream, bad dreams like i used, to have that you, were leaving me, anymore

Now that you’re gone, i don’t dream, and no matter, what you think, i’m not lonely, sleeping all alone

Zora Neal Hurston was a novelist, folklorists and anthropologist and an authority on black culture from the Harlem Renaissance.

In her studies of the development of black culture, Hurston did not cite the issue of racism of whites toward blacks as the major catalyst, or as she thought of it, the major excuse, for the status of blacks in our society. In so doing,  she fell out of favor during the radical years of the civil rights movement.

She alienated herself by speaking out against the movement and her work was pushed aside. It would be decades before both white and black educators recognized the brilliance of her contribution. Sadly, she died in poverty and obscurity.

I have been made to believe in this democracy thing, and I am all for tasting this democracy out. The flavor must be good. If the Occident is so intent in keeping the taste out of darker mouths that it spends all those billions and expends all those billions and expends all those millions of lives, colored ones too, to keep it among themselves, then it must be something good. I crave to sample this gorgeous thing. So I cannot say anything different from repeal of all Jim Crow laws! Not in some future generation, but repeal now and forever!! (“Crazy for This Democracy,” Negro Digest (December 1945.)

Many women in history have been railed for their radical thinking. Great artists such as George Eliot and George Sand were forced to use male pseudonyms in order to get published.

It dates back to Sappho and her radical poetry, and continues with Gertrude Stein and Rita Mae Brown. Women, who live bravely and leave a legacy for all our children, male and female.

I cannot forget the radical thinking of one of my early heroines, Ayn Rand. Today, it is sad to know that like many other visionists, her fears have come to fruition and the iron steel power has bent, as in Atlas Shrugged.

For the sheer joy of poetic prose, long, ambling, delightful novels, read Taylor Caldwell, Willa Cather, Kathrine Anne Porter or Mary Roberts Rinehart. How could we survive without the Bronte sisters? Never to have known Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte or Wuthering Heights by her sister, Emily Bronte.

Out of Africa begins on the plains of Kenya, the train, the brilliant music, and the opening line of Baroness Karen von-Blixen-Finecke … “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills…” From her memoir, The Life of a Story Teller, by Isak Dinesen.

I applaud the early days of my education. I am grateful that before I discovered rock ‘n roll, I heard La Bohem in my crib.

I love that before I pandered to a big and little screen for information and entertainment, I was introduced to newspapers, news magazines and classic literature.

I frown on “sameness” and those who purport to improve my lot, by stuffing sameness down my throat.

There are hundreds of thousands of women who represent the ideal of our gender. Introduce them to your daughters, and yes, your sons, and revel in the legacy they have left us all.

 

From whence we came
Is not so far from
Where we are, 

fOIS

  

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1 Comment

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One response to “Wednesday is hump day …

  1. Mary Runser

    Wonderful post Florence!! You named some of my personal favorites…Brrokes, Giovanni–whom I’ve met on two occasions. I love her powerful words–especially when she is reading them.

    Zora Neale-Hurston, Cather, the Brontes…all greats! Thanks for encouraging people to go back to these women, and teach their children the traditions!!

    Like

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