Toni Morrison Part 7 of 15 Black Authors
Toni Morrison February 18, 1931-August 5, 2019
At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough. —Toni Morrison
Chloe Ardelia Wofford, also known as Toni Morrison, was born on February 18, 1931, in Lorraine, Ohio. Toni Morrison is one of my all-time favorite authors. In grammar school, I wrote a story about a girl who wanted to have straight blonde hair. When my teacher read it, she told me that it reminded her of a book called “The Bluest Eye.” I had never heard of this book and knew nothing about Toni Morrison. On the last day of school, my teacher gifted me a paperback copy of this book. I read it over and over. I could not believe that someone had come up with this story. It was not the same story that I had written, of course, but there were similar undertones. From the first time I finished the book, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. There was no internet back then, so my research of Toni Morrison was all library-based. Toni Morrison was the first person that I wanted to be. I literally wanted to be this woman. How ironic that my best friend’s name was Toni. God has a sense of humor that will teach and encourage if you allow it.
In 1988 Toni Morrison won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for Beloved. That same year I met Gwendolyn Brooks, and she gave a speech about making lemons out of lemonade. I could call it coincidence, but that would be a lie. It is truly God’s will that the things in my life surrounding writing have taken place.
Toni Morrison graduated with a B.A. in English from Howard University and a Master of Arts from Cornell University. I followed somewhat in her footsteps, not having graduated from an HBCU, but I have a B.A. in English, an MBA, and an MA with Honors. Her inspiration in my life has been unmatched. I write because of Toni Morrison.
“Love is never any better than the lover.” – The Bluest Eye.
Toni Morrison clearly has a magnificent love affair with words and storytelling. Morrison didn’t start writing until she was thirty, but she had a story that she wanted to read that had not been written yet, and that motivated her to write “The Bluest Eye.” Morrison is often referred to as “The last classic American Writer.” Since “The Bluest Eye,” Morrison has written in trilogies, “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” “Tar Baby,” “Beloved,” “Jazz,” “Paradise,” “Love,” “A Mercy” and “Home.” “God Help the Child” will take us on a new journey.
Morrison writes with intent and passion that is unparalleled. Her motto is that she will put the plot on the first page, and if the reader turns the page, then it is because she wants to know what happens and or how it happens, and she loves the language. Taking the moral high ground is another thing that Morrison does. Though Morrison doesn’t proclaim to be a feminist, her writing and her stance on women’s rights have been associated with feminism. One thing for sure is that Morrison has an understanding of racism and how it works and why it exists. Morrison talks about immigration and how the New Americans needed someone to become better than. Most of the immigrants were fair-skinned and able to become what society now calls “white.” This change created a continuous downward spiral for people of color. Morrison often talks about this and the need to rid America of her burden. Many of her works depict acts of racism or reactions of racism or the effects of racism. The only cure for racism is the cure itself. We all have a portion of the cure, and it only works when we all use our portion.
“You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.” – Song of Solomon.
Finally, I have to think about what the world would be like if there was never a woman named Toni Morrison and she had never written a single book. I have to think about what my life would be like if I had not been introduced to her writing when I was. What would I be doing right now? Would I be writing this blog? Would I be about to publish a novel? Would I have a dance in my fingers that creates a tune so beautiful against computer keys that I long to hear it day in and day out? What would my life be without a woman named Toni Morrison? I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. I like to believe that the inspiration will be continual, and the love for the dance will keep the music playing. Six degrees of separation has to go for inspiration. We are not that far removed from one another. As a child inspiring to become, we don’t know these things, but we hope. Hope creates faith, and faith creates good works.
“Had she paints, or clay, or knew the discipline of the dance, or strings, had she anything to engage her tremendous curiosity and her gift for metaphor, she might have exchanged the restlessness and preoccupation with whim for an activity that provided her with all she desired. And like an artist with no art form, she became dangerous.” – Sula.
Thank you, Toni Morrison.
References: Toni Morrison Talks About Her Motivation For Writing. (2008, December 04). Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://youtu.be/_8Zgu2hrs2k
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