All along I have been doing work that interrupted the silencing of black women in his-story. This his-story includes the actual absence of her presence or her presence represented in vilified images or characteristics. Effortlessly, even through the pen strokes of black people, black women characterizations are resembling or in actuality that of the socially oppressive jezebel, tragic mulatto or big mama. Until going in to studies for Africana Women’s Studies, I didn’t have the language of what I was doing nor did I have the connections of other women that have doing this work for years.
My last novel, The Town Dance, I was inserting the silent voice of people who were victims to same gender sexual assault. The novel was my support for a dear friend who had been sexually assaulted by her girlfriend and dismissed the encounter with an uncomfortable laugh. I’ll never forget her looking at me, forcing a smile then saying, “she’s strong”. This was over 15 years ago. When I finally decided to write the novel, my internet search on the topic led me to pornographic sites or inconclusive court hearings. The writing process was therapy for me. Even though I have a community of gay friends, both men and women, I was terrified to be plagued with being considered “gay” if I wrote the book. Actual terror would travel my body as I imagined people staring at me questioning if I was a gay women. I had to confront my homophobia and fears, have confronting, vulnerable conversations with friends and then heal. Afterwards, I wrote the book.
A project that has been in my head for years comes from visits to Montgomery, Alabama and one of their historic sites from the civil rights movement. This relatively flat land, small city was once a huge mobilizing force for progressive efforts of black people. The communities that once flourished are now abandoned and its buildings dilapidated. But the stories live on.
The stories of the brave men that faced, often times, violent resistance in their fight against Jim Crow. As always, I wondered what the women were doing. The beautiful black and white photos that display their wrinkle-free dresses and unstained white or pastel colored gloves gave them a physical presence. But the texts were absent of their words, their actions. So I began research and found women that I felt needed to be given voice. After years of imagining their world, visiting Montgomery and sitting in my car in the neighborhood I wanted to focus on, the book is slated be released October of 2019. My first take at historical fiction. I love this book and so excited to share it with the world in the upcoming months.
I know who I am. I am who I was created to be
Without being who you expect me to be
Who they assume I am
Who I thought I was
I am strong
I have cried and lied and spied and tried
To be that super; that make do, that bag
That pick up the pieces
I am woman
I can roar and I can soar
This may not be in your job description
But it is my prescription, because I have changed
But rearranged myself
I am free
To be who I was created to be
I am a unique piece to my own puzzle
Intricate, a benefit, not counterfeit
Fitting into grooves
I thought I’d never fill the vacancy
I am determined
If I know who I am
I can respect you, because I respect myself
I can love you, because I love myself
I can respond to you and not react
I can share with you and not be envious
I can converse with you and be real
I am a possibility
I’m sitting here wondering, pondering, contemplating, deliberating, anxiously waiting for the precise moment where it all becomes painstakingly clear to me.
But so far nothing; nothing that explains why the Universe has brought me to her- her to me- us together in this time and place…
Ahhh… alas, here we are, two old souls reunited, reconnected from some time past…
She knows me, and I know her, yet there’s so much to discover about one another…
What does her laugh sound like?
When she smiles, does it reach her eyes or remain at her lips?
What does her touch feel like?
Where do her stray thoughts lead her?
There is an attraction that transcends the physical- it’s spiritual. It feels good, it feels scary, it feels authentic, it feels… purposeful…
Almost as if it were meant… the Universe brings people together for a reason. To fulfill its own unique purpose, for whatever length of time…
I suppose time will reveal…
Dawn Edwards wrote her first short story at the age of 8 and has cultivated a deeper love for the written word over the years. She is now a published author, her book is entitled, “Food 4 Thought” and currently has two book projects in the works. She’s a blogger and a political activist who wholly believes that she has the responsibility to use her words, in addition to her legal knowledge and political science background to uplift, motivate and address issues that affect her community. Dawn’s also a mother of 3 boys, and a trained dancer.