I am linking up here with Amber Haines whose voice rings true and clear, trying with others to find our own. Go read Amber’s post which pulls on us all and the beautiful words of my people, fast becoming friends.
When I was a babe, I sat in my playpen and looked at books all day. I turned and turned the press-board pages. I never sought release. I was a happy captive.
When I was three, My Dada taught me to read – or told me I could. So, I did. We read the funny papers and whatever else he thought worth our time. In his lap, behind that newspaper, I was given my life.
When I was four, my mama enrolled me in the church pre-school across the street. I went the first day, all excited at what I imagined they would teach me. I raced back home and splayed the pages of the new Readers Digest. I could not yet make plain sense of it, so I quit. Then and there. Went back to studying with the Master and Sargent of my studies.
Soon, I could read most everything our librarian put before me. And I took to holing up in corners and crevices with my borrowed books. They transported me and taunted me and tangled me up inside the way good stories do. They became my best friends, until I found my people who loved books as I did.
I say I want to write books, tell my stories… stories I have all lined up in queue, waiting on me, to be me enough and brave enough and able to give them attention enough to hear well the ghosts I must consort. The sense of them standing there, reminds me…Don’t forget…You forget things, now. Don’t forget, hurry to them.
I drove all around the home to half of me this weekend. I heard some of those ghosts whisper hoarsely, “Tell it, sugar.” I thought of turning farther south, driving dirt lanes for forensic clues of where those whom neither me nor my parents ever knew died and I was really born. I’ve never set foot on any land they lived upon, it was of course, in another’s name. But I wonder, and sometimes I think I might find it, in my mind if not on a map.
A few years back, I sat with Brother Rick, Alabama’s Keeper of the Story. He charged me plainly, “You have to write those stories. They will die with you. Those folks deserve better.”
I know that is so.
I have a few things to finish, first. But, my stack is shrinking.
Books defined my first years. It is my prayer that they will my last.