Ambassador Queen of Literature: Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison once told her dear friend Nikki Giovanni to write through her pain. When I heard Dr. Giovanni tell that story, it touched me in a place that only another writer’s words can touch. I understood, I felt, I believed because it is what I have always done. When saying the words could not heal the feeling or get deep enough to touch the spot inside of me that was hurting, I wrote. I wrote because somehow, putting the words on the page made me feel better, made me understand, made me take a different approach, or simply relieved me of the pain.
Today the words are helping me to cope with the loss so great that I don’t understand it myself. When you spend a lifetime admiring someone and then wake up one morning, and they are no longer of this world you feel like something is missing, like that familiar place you held dear in your heart has been trespassed upon. Toni Morrison was my guilty pleasure. When times got tough, I would go back to the Bluest Eye, and I would read from beginning to end, taking in each word as though it was my first time. I go there now in my sorrow, and I read, greedy, wanting to have her to myself, to believe she is telling me a story that only she and I will follow until the end. She is mine, and I am hers, and together we live in a whirlwind of fictional color that is brighter than any ray of sunshine.
I never shook her hand or embraced her. I never posed for a selfie with her, and I never took her formal classes. She touched me in a more intimate way, I learned from her in an unconventional classroom, and for these things, I will always be grateful. There will never be another literary mind as grand and great as yours, though many will try. There will never be another First African American Woman Nobel Prize winner. Great minds may think alike, but grand minds are unique.
Both of my Toni’s are gone, my best friend and my idol. I don’t know if it is weird to some people to hear you say that you love someone that you have never met, but I love Toni Morrison. I am writing my pain away, hoping that on the other side there is a place to write, so that many years from now when I am called home, I will have a good book to read.
I write because I was born this way. I write because there was a Toni Morrison, Chloe writes the books. Simone writes the books.