When Was The First Time You Read A Toni Morrison Book?

And how did it change your life?

I remember first learning about her in grade school in one of the English books. English, was the only class that I was excited about. It was the only class I excelled in. It was the only class I felt a sense of connection, home, and freedom. I failed miserably in all of the other core classes, unless they required that I write.

I would read passages or quotes from Toni Morrison and feel this indescribable admiration for her. There was always a knot with her words. They tangled me. I devoured them. Not enough, I suppose. I am certain it was like that for most people. Many of my friends have that one book that they read that changed their lives this way, or that way.

To be so generous with your work and words, was something I always found facinating. And knowing, she also had so much more there. Knowing, deep down in my soul, that what we got was almost-always just a few layers deep in the well of her creative being. And still, we were always incredibly moved, and culturally lifted.

What else, Ms. Morrison? I’m fine with this, Ms. Morrison. How many writers did you groom, Ms. Morrison? How many authors did you birth, Ms. Morrison?

She gave a voice to the many who felt voiceless. She gave a mirror to experiences that often felt unseen and un-represented. She gave. She gave. SHE GAVE. We honor her today, and everyday we live and create in any space that we are given, take, or occupy.

A quote that I have recently leaned on personally:

“I don’t think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It’s perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.” – Conversations With Toni Morrison

A quote that I have leaned on with work:

“Writing before dawn began as a necessity—I had small children when I first began to write and I needed to use the time before they said, Mama—and that was always around five in the morning. Many years later, after I stopped working at Random House, I just stayed at home for a couple of years. I discovered things about myself I had never thought about before. At first I didn’t know when I wanted to eat, because I had always eaten when it was lunchtime or dinnertime or breakfast time. Work and the children had driven all of my habits . . . I didn’t know the weekday sounds of my own house; it all made me feel a little giddy.” – Conversations With Toni Morrison

A quote that I leaned on way before I knew I would become an author:

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

On Monday, Toni Morrison passed away at the age of 88. She left us with so much. I’m off to go buy a book of hers and read passages with my daughter on the train to the village. The only way.

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