I have seen Alice Walker speak twice here in Atlanta. Both times, the crowd was mostly women, predominately white women. My last observation of the energy from the admiration of her literary works came during the Q and A. I remember sitting there trying to construct a precise question on how she connects her creative process with her person as a black woman. What I realized specifically is that the majority of the questions from the black women were trying to get the same information as I was and that the white women were asking her about spirituality. I remember thinking how odd that seemed to me that both black and white women seemed uninterested in the documentary that was just viewed. We wanted more and yet, Alice Walker is for the most part a fiction writer.
Fast forward to me now back in grad school and how often she is referenced in Africana Women’s Studies, Gender Studies and Women’s Studies. It all makes sense. My question on how she connects her creativity and her womanhood is in all of her work. I know realize how intuitively and effortlessly this is done in her work. I’m not certain of this, but I don’t think as she sat and wrote prose, short stories or poems that she was thinking on how she could contribute to feminist critical theory or black feminist theory. Nor could she have known how her personal expansion of feminism into “womanism” would take on entire subjects. Or perhaps she did… after all she is also an essayists and speaker.
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:
The necessity of writers allowing their words to root and grow into essays, poems and stories is courage and a display of effortless perseverance. My new studies in Africana Women’s Studies, is adorned with critics and contributions of Audre Lorde. I was familiar with her work before I re-entered school but I didn’t understand the magnitude of her contributions because I was unaware she had created a grand portion of the language. Her love of equality and freedom for people of color, women and artists is something to be studied. Please enjoy the article below on Ms. Audre Lorde!
Remembering the Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde