This book. Is. Absolutely. Brilliant.
“The Salt Eaters” is one of those books that took me years to read. For some reason, I always seemed to begin to read it and after the first few pages I had to put it down. Part because I couldn’t grasp the concept of what was going on and because I had too much going on in my life. See, this book demands you be abandoned when you read it. After finally reading the book, I realized it was difficult to read because it was personal. It felt like a conversation I would have with my girlfriends. It was “an older book” that was still relevant. It gave me the feel of a Zora Neale Hurston book or Toni Morrison. It is time bending and revolutionary.
I was introduced to Bambara around the time I began to consume myself with literature from black women. The summer going in to my sophomore year of undergraduate school when I sat on the library floor and found Sanchez, Shange, Giovanni, Walker, Brooks, Jordan, Clifton to name a few. I was a theatre student, who also loved poetry, scouring for material to perform and interpret for auditions and competitions. Bambara was one of the names that kept coming up so I kept her on my list of authors that “changed the game”.
Those who know me know that I am a thrift store book shopper. I never buy used books for over $3.00 and one day (years ago) I came across this book:
Continue reading Toni Cade Bambara, the scholar
Today would have been the 77th birthday of poet, playwright, writer, filmmaker, director, civil rights activist, and educator, Kathleen Collins. I am taking time to insert her into my repertoire because she was the first black woman to direct a feature-length drama. Collins paved the road for Julie Dash. Commonly, Julie Dash is given credit for being the first black woman to direct a feature length film.
Influenced by the works of playwright, Lorraine Hansberry, Collins’ work centered around African Americans as human subjects and not as mere race subjects. This being a clear indication to her black feminism work in film and activism against vilified images and stereotypes.
As I journey on this path of shifting, reflecting and altering my personal perceptions of my artistic work in literature, I am “inserting” the names of black women who may exist prominently in the shadows. May their names and work re-join the rain dancers and roux makers of black women creators.
Happy Birthday Kathleen Collins!
“What was I thinking?” was the question I asked myself quite often over the past four months. This was how I felt…
I knew I was there! I knew I was sitting there and reading and walking around and driving, etc. Sometimes it was crystal clear and other times everything was a blur! But when I say I underestimated how much energy would be exerted working full-time and going back for future PhD studies…
shot it short,
miscued my intuition
I WAS BUSY!
A good busy. A purposeful busy. A busy that was full of intent but absolutely overwhelming at times. But I went back in searching for a language that boxed black women writers (in particular playwrights) within criticisms and criteria that hindered expansion and an honest representation. I chose Clark Atlanta University and their Africana Womens Studies Department.
I went into the program wanting to study black women in fiction literature. But decided to look into researching black women playwrights instead. Besides, theatre is my first love and this would give me a chance to honor the art form that got me started.
Last fall I also entered my second year of teaching elementary English Language Arts (ELA). So I confidently entered my fourth career change! But educating children during the day, on various learning levels, and then going to school in the evening until 7 and 7:30 p.m. could’ve taken a toll. And least we not forget the three teenagers living in my house!
Organization was crucial and kept me afloat. Sleeping when my body said “lay down” and closing my eyes when I was seeing double aided in my relationship with sanity as well. 🙂 After a decade or so being out of school, I managed to pull off some incredible grades! And on top of that, I put my money where my mouth was by setting an example of time management and effective studying skills for my teens.
Continue reading what was I thinking?…