The Pieces I Am, Too
This morning early, up there in the living-room recliner, I finished reading Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”, the paperback with her 1993 Afterword. My first thought, closing the book, was to run down here to the basement and gather every unsold copy of the books I have written and not sold and set fire to them all. Then open this very ‘Couch Surfing’ Blog site and delete every word I’ve ever posted. Never in a million years, I knew closing that “Bluest” back cover, would I, could I write with the majesty and grace and power that Toni did. Fortunately those impulses passed, an “I Am the Walrus” I am me and you are you and we are all together thing, yes, like that. It all goes into the wash, Bro, and we writers create, we do the best we can with the words we’re provided at any given time and we add to the wondrous world of language. Vive la difference, and it’s good to have goals. So, I had another cup of coffee instead.
How I came to be finishing a Toni Morrison book on this Tuesday morning pretty much followed a Hansel and Gretel-like path. Three days into 2021 I was suddenly compelled to come up with New Year’s resolutions, something I’d not done for a gazillion years, and I wrote down three. One was to watch/stream a video documentary every week for the next year, offer stimulating, informational, worthy material to the then 71-year old brain cells. Toward the honorary Doctoral degree I’ll be awarding myself one of these decades. I shared my resolve with my wife Susan and she dug it and a week later we brought dinner out before the television and watched Hulu’s “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.” It was wonderful and deeply moving, dramatically inspiring, and I knew immediately I’d been so lucky to see it. Coincidentally, my birthday (72nd) was coming up in a couple of weeks and having been unable to previously offer an answer to the “What do you want?” question, I now said how about “The Bluest Eye”. Yeah – I got it. “Beloved” too.
I also received for my birthday “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned” by Walter Mosley, an author whose writing I have long cherished, which I finished four days ago. Currently, remaining directly before the recliner on the coffee table, waiting for its turn, is “The Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader”. I bought that for myself on Ebay. Cheap. Couple months back.
All three of these named writers are African-American. Only Mosley still lives this Tuesday morning. Their color is a fact, do with it what you will. What happened for me, in the recliner, after I let go my urge to “451” my books, was the thought of how lucky I was to grow up in the town of Wareham, Massachusetts. To grow up in the company of black kids, friends, and black families, and a milieu – not always – but almost always of harmony and, following the harmony, a resulting richness of life. My life.
Lucky to watch the Toni Morrison documentary. Lucky to grow up in Wareham. Lucky one of those black Wareham high school kids and me were roommates sophomore year at Cape Cod Community. Another person inspiring my life. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
This is me Tuesday. This is my Tuesday early. My weather report, the where I am at. Today.