Search results: martin luther king jr

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. Always and Forever

10 Apr

In honor of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. who was taken from us 50 years ago. All I can say is this:

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARTIN

 

50 years

like yesterday

motel. balcony. sky.

remembrance of reading book

was it elementary school when

I turned pages

got queasy from

birds-eye view of crew cut

blond bristles exposing pale skull

eye glasses, gun rising

hands up don’t shoot

didn’t see it coming

except night before

you intimated

we’d have to

go on without you

but how

when you led us

mountaintop full of hope

dashed

thine eyes have

seen the glory

dashed

grateful, reverent

reverend king

dream not deferred

dashed

what would you preach today

what salve soothes

seeing arms not linked, but

not german shepherds

hoses spraying in selma, but

hands up don’t shoot

 

instead: teargas, tanks, rubber bullets

over ferguson

bodies of young men,

boys, women

falling from balconies

armed with dreams

of living while

walking while black

dreams of

not being

pulled over

felled not by

officers with dogs

but officers with real bullets

now you have birds-eye view

you see the voices of

the unheard

rise up

once again

you see fannie

pass the baton to

alicia, patrisse, opal

you see your principles

in action in streets

across this make

america great again nation

and see the jail letter

still holds water

salt water tears

stream down cheeks

us missing you martin

live on everlasting promise of

promised land

I promised you

I wouldn’t forget

and told my daughters

to promise

to remember

when they march

the streets

arms linked

with fellow students

so that one day

your dream for them

comes true

 

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

5 Apr

Here on Wendy Jane’ Soul Shake,  I try to think about what has shaped me, and  rekindled this conscious desire to make race relations between black and white people a focus in my life now.

Yesterday, was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I know that MLK had a lot to do with the strong feelings I developed as a child around social justice for black people.  I was only seven years old when he was taken from this world, but I swear I remember seeing images from the funeral on television–of Coretta with the veiled hat that couldn’t hide her grief, of Martin’s children, of the thousands of mourners in the street.  I knew who he was.  I knew how he was trying to make things fair for black people.  I knew how wrong things were from seeing, again on television, images of black men and women being arrested at a lunch counter sit-in, being hosed down by police officers, and being attacked by those officers’ German shepherd dogs.

These things stay with you.  At least, they stayed with me.

I never stop thinking of Martin as an inspiration, and a figure of hope, whose words we still need to strive to live by today.  So, when I went to Atlanta, Georgia for the first time last summer for a blogging workshop, I was excited to visit the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum.

I wasn’t prepared though, for what my reaction would be upon entering the sanctuary of the church.  It was a humble space, not unlike the feeling of the temple I worshiped at as a young Jewish girl growing up in Waterbury.  I took in the peach colored walls, the high white, vaulted ceiling, the stained glass windows, and the dark wooden pews resting upon red carpeting.  Fresh flowers were on the pulpit.  It was as if Martin could appear anytime to give a sermon.

I sat in one of the pews.  A recording of one of Martin’s sermons began to  play over speakers in the sanctuary.  I started to cry.  I can’t even remember what was being said.  It was his voice.  His booming voice, his brave voice, his passionate voice, his belief in equality, and love, and peace, and justice for all voice.

I cried for the next two hours at the MLK Museum, too.   I cried when I read about the effects of slavery and institutionalized racism on the psyches of Black Americans.  I cried when I read about Martin’s passion and will to fight for racial, and later, economic equality, but also learned of his humanness, his vulnerability, of the times he thought he couldn’t go on, but knew that he must, and did.  Until, his life was cut short, and he could no longer fight the fight.

I will never forget what Martin Luther King, Jr. did for this nation, and for all the world to see.  And, I will never forget what he did for me, a little white girl watching from afar, but feeling close enough to want to live his dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming “Woke” Is A Life-long Journey and Why I’m Taking The Racial Crossfit Challenge

8 Aug

I read, I educate myself, I talk with people of color, not only because I believe it makes life richer to connect with and learn about people whose life experiences and culture is different from mine, but also in an effort to learn and understand how the history, and lived experiences of Black Americans in this country, and how the structures of racism and white supremacy, have afforded me, a woman with white skin privilege, to move through the world with an ease and truckload of access and opportunity not granted to them. But still, just because in June 2017, the word woke was entered in the Oxford English Dictionary, it doesn’t mean (more…)

Thinking Out Loud, And Not The Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud, Though I Do Love That Lovely Song, This Is My Thinking Out Loud On Integration In Our Day-To-Day Lives

19 Feb

Crown Heights, NY

Crown Heights, NY – photo by Mo Scarpelli

It’s four years into my blog journey and it’s like you think you know what your blog is about and going to be about when you start out, but then, like life itself, the focus shifts and turns.  I started out wanting to explore what happens when we connect across colorlines, and the how and the why of why I’ve always been drawn to connect with others different than me, why I’ve been attracted to black culture, and matters of racial equality.

Then, with all that’s happened in the past few years in relation to race and racism, I found myself needing to write about (more…)

What Are We Talking About? Jordan Davis…Or The Snowfall?

22 Feb

I’m certain there are droves of white people who were both saddened and outraged over the Michael Dunn mistrial verdict which fell short of convicting Dunn of murder charges for the shooting death of teenager, Jordan Davis.  Yet this past week, their presence on social media told a different story.

As you know, Dunn was the white man who fired shots into the SUV Jordan and his friends, all black teenage boys, were sitting in at a, (surprise!), Florida gas station.  There had been a brief dispute amongst the teens and Dunn, who felt their music was playing too loudly.  Jordan Davis, 17, died from the gunshot wounds inflicted by Dunn.

I always notice who is talking about what when it comes to race.  After the Dunn verdict, on Facebook and on twitter, I saw that many people of color were paying tribute to Jordan, and expressing their outrage over the verdict, and the very fact that the lives of young black men don’t seem to matter in this country.  Some white people were doing that too, but not nearly as many.

The next morning, a friend of mine on Facebook (and in real life:), poet Christopher Johnson, who is known for not mincing words, spoke out on his own “noticing.”  He noticed that black people were posting about Jordan and Dunn, but white folks were posting about the snowfall.  Christopher who recently shared a powerful poem on Facebook about his fear as a black man of being taken by violence while simply walking down the street, and not being able to watch his daughter grow up, wondered if we even cared at all.

On twitter, since I am following many people of color who are interested in the topic of race, (see I Was On Black Twitter And U.O.E.N.O.) the divide was even sharper.  People of color were tweeting about Jordan Davis and Dunn, and damning the Stand Your Ground law, and white people were tweeting about a favorite book or the Olympics.

What does this say about us?  About white people?  Does it show we don’t care? Or is it we don’t express our feelings about trial outcomes on social media?  Are we afraid to broach it because we are worried about racial tension? Or do we feel a posting on facebook doesn’t do any good?  Another friend on FB, a man of color, posted after the verdict a warning about..”all the “psuedo cyber-activists”…who would now share their outrage here on the page, but seemingly questioned how that would effect change.

I myself responded to Christopher’s post, saying that I clearly noticed what he noticed–the racial divide between posting about the Dunn verdict vs. how many inches of snow we got. I stated I didn’t consider myself political or an activist, even though with my blog Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake, I suppose I am becoming somewhat of an activist, or at least advocate for awareness on race relations, racism and privilege.

I went on to say though that this was a matter of humanity and that for me personally, when I post something on Facebook, and I have, about Trayvon Martin,  Troy Davis, and Jordan Davis, I hedge on getting too vocal, because I feel at the same time, well, I’m not doing anything out in the community–I haven’t attended a march, or I haven’t written a letter to the proper politicians to get rid of the Stand Your Ground law.  And, so I don’t want my words to be hollow.  But, yes, I hope with all my heart that white people acknowledge the fact that yet another young black man has lost his life for no reason at all, and his murderer has not been brought to justice.  I hope that we  pay tribute.  That we care.   That we talk about it.  That we want to work to break down the systems of racism and racial injustice that were not afforded to Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, and Jonathan Ferrell, and their families.  I know I need to do more on that end.

At this point in my post, I took a break and went out to breakfast with my friend Karina Wood, and our daughters–a good wrap up to school vacation week.  I’ve always admired Karina for her willingness to be vocal and speak up on matters on education and politics, and to call out our local politicians and school officials via social media and town meetings, and ask for clarity, transparency and change when things don’t seem right to her.

Midway through breakfast Karina exclaimed, “I was so astounded, and think it’s so awful about that guy not getting convicted for that shooting in Florida.”

And, it’s not like I said to myself, Yay! aha, see, here is a white person talking about Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn.  It is important to us, but I did seize upon the moment to open up the discussion.  I asked Karina if she had seen Christopher’s post on Facebook.  She had.  This is how I remember our conversation.

“I saw that, and I did feel bad. I felt like he was speaking to me.  I was one of those people talking about the snow,”  she began. “But, usually I keep up with the news every day, but I hadn’t this past week, and so after his post, I looked it up, and was angry about the outcome.”

“Did you feel guilty about what Christopher said?” I asked.  And then I shared with her my take about some people not wanting to post things that are political, or think or talk about these events on social media.

“I did at first,” Karina replied.  “I often do post about things I believe in and want to support, and I missed this one (on the day of the verdict)…I was thinking how black people must be feeling–that they’re NOT surprised by this.  That you want to be surprised that something like this unbelievable verdict happened, but the fact that it keeps happening, you’re not surprised anymore.”

She added, “I think we do need to say something, do need to show that we care and it matters.”

I appreciated the conversion with Karina, and her suggestions to me to write letters to the editors of local newspapers, and politicians denouncing the verdict and the Stand Your Ground law, when I spoke about not knowing how to take action.

Maybe the space in which you speak up is not on social media.  And that is fine.  But, I hope we are all paying attention. I hope that we all care.  And, I hope that, as a nation of diverse people, none of us remain silent.  As Dr. King once urged us all, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

__________

SOURCE:   www.goodreads.com Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

 

Honoring Two Heroes: MLK and Mandela via Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and The Root

20 Jan

Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my thoughts were of King, and yet also, of another role model and hero of mine, the great, Nelson Mandela.  I was glad then to see this article from The Root by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in my email inbox today.  Dr. King has been an inspiration to me ever since I was a young girl, and even more so as an adult, finally more conscious to receive, understand and act in my day-to-day life on his message of equality, justice, and speaking up for what is right.

Please follow the link to Gates’s article, to read how the first official, national Martin Luther King Day back in 1986 had direct ties to Nelson Mandela and apartheid in South Africa.

 

http://www.theroot.com/articles/history/2014/01/_1st_king_holiday_and_nelson_mandela.html?wpisrc=topstories

photo credit: www.bidorby.co.za

My First Letter To The Editor Published: And Its Barrington Clapback

11 Feb


photo: Joe Wilson, Jr. as Ulysses, and Cloteal L. Horne as Circe, in “black odyssey” at Trinity Repertory Company, Jan. 3 – Feb. 3, 2019 (photo credit: Mark Turek)

On January 23rd, 2019, I got my first Opinion letter published in our local newspaper, The Providence Journal. I was so mad about a review of Trinity Repertory Company’s play, black odyssey, written by the paper’s theater critic, Channing Grey, that I just had to write the letter.

The play, black odyssey, by acclaimed playwright, Marcus Gardley, is a retelling of Homer’s classic, The Odyssey. According to Trinity Rep, the play is how “one man’s journey home from war leads him on an adventure connecting him with his own ancestors and our shared humanity, before finally delivering him back to his wife and son.”

It is an epic tale–a layered journey of storytelling, with song, ritual, and time travel through ancient and current history of the African diaspora, including black American history and culture. The play is two hours and fifty minutes in length.

Here is Gray’s review:

(more…)

What Are You Gonna Stand For: Donuts or Freedom?

13 Oct

gourmet-donutsI knew it wasn’t cool to, in my texting conversation with my friend Marco, to right after I asked him if he saw Birth Of A Nation the night before, ask if he wanted to meet me in line outside the new gourmet donut shop in our neighborhood. From slave rebellion film to over-priced trendy sweets in one text bubble to the next? (more…)

Revisiting “Is Poppy A Black American?” During Black History Month

5 Feb

 I first started working on this piece when my older daughter, Leni, was five years old.  At sixteen now, she has a more formed opinion about her mother’s obsession with race relations, and has even written a few posts for me on WJSS.

little sister, Darla, Poppy, and Leni

little sister, Darla, Poppy, and Leni

“Mommy, I have a secret to tell you,” my then, five-year old daughter Leni exclaimed, as we sat eating lunch in a Pennsylvania pub-style restaurant.

We were on a summer road trip, traveling from Tulsa, Oklahoma where we had lived for several years, to my home state of Connecticut. Leni and her little sister Darla were going to visit their grandpa, their “Poppy.”

Cupping her hand over my ear, Leni whispered… (more…)

Author Michael Chabon Steals My Thoughts

1 Oct

Darn you, Michael Chabon!

I just finished reading your NY Times article, O.J. Simpson, Racial Utopia, and the Moment That Inspired My Novel, and I can’t believe you stole my thoughts and feelings about having grown up in an integrated community (and, you win, your community was more integrated than mine), and then realizing in your adult years that you, too, were disconnected from having black people in your life.  And, you got your thoughts and feelings published in this New York Times article, while my essays on the same subject languish at the back of my filing cabinet.

Your’s truly,

Wendy Jane

Here’s the deal.

Chabon’s latest book, “Telegraph Avenue,” set along the fringed line of where Berkeley meets Oakland, explores his feelings about race and integration through a tale of two men–one black and one white–and their families, who own a used record store together along the fault line between the two towns.

While Chabon says the defining moment for him–the moment he discovered he was disconnected from black people, was when the O.J. Simpson verdict was reached.  As he says in the Times article, it wasn’t the seemingly overall jubilation of black people about the verdict, but the fact that he was now so disconnected from black people not to notice that they were living these moments of injustice that would give cause to such a reaction.

That was not my moment.  If you read my About page, you’ll see that it was my move from New York City to Tulsa, Oklahoma–from land of diversity to land of segregation, that made me reflect back, trace my own steps, much as Chabon has been doing.  That move made me realize how much I missed having black people in my life.  It made me into a detective looking for clues, for the beginning of the unraveling thread of my more integrated life.  It made me write.

If it hadn’t been for that jolt, I don’t know that I would have ever started writing.  Not in any serious sort of way.  Writing seemed to be a necessity.  A way to try and sort things out.  I wrote essay after personal essay on missing black people, on my attraction to having black people in my life from a very young age, on my caring about civil rights, my crush on Michael Jackson, and my findings on how my life got whiter in my twenties and beyond.  I have looked at some of the earliest essays and want to re-work them.  I want to be able to articulate better how I feel, tell what I’ve found out.  And for an ending line, I hope I can come up with one as lovely as the one that finishes Chabon’s article below.

I might say I’m mad at him for having the same thoughts that I do, but, of course, that’s all in jest.   I’m glad that Chabon has been brave enough to tackle writing on black life, and writing black characters in his fiction–a tricky thing for white writers.  I am glad to know I’m not alone.

 

O.J. Simpson, Racial Utopia and the Moment That Inspired My Novel

Archived photograph from Columbia, Md., an integrated planned community where Michael Chabon grew up.

By MICHAEL CHABON

“Telegraph Avenue” is set in Oakland and Berkeley, but it was born in Los Angeles, on Oct. 3, 1995, the day Judge Lance Ito unsealed the O. J. Simpson verdict and made it known to the world.

The Inspiration Issue

To the extent that I felt anything about the case before the verdict was announced, it was only that it seemed pretty obvious Simpson was guilty and should go to jail for the rest of his life. When I heard the news from the courthouse, I was shocked but not really surprised. I was married to a defense lawyer at the time (I am still married to her, only now she writes books). I knew that the prosecution, like the defense, had one job to do, and if it did it poorly, then it ought to lose the case. Then my wife called from a federal courthouse in Downtown L.A., where she worked. “We’re watching from our windows,” she told me. “People are dancing in the street.”

That surprised me. I turned on the television and saw scenes of the apparent jubilation of L.A.’s black community, and it caught me completely off guard. I say “apparent jubilation” because I was aware that all I knew about the response of black people to the verdict was what I could see on my television screen. There were no black people living on my block of Orange Drive, in Hancock Park. At that time I had one black friend. It wasn’t as if I were going to call him up and ask him if he was jubilant.

I knew enough about television and its portrayal of black people — its portrayal of everything — not to accept prima facie the implication that all black people were delighted to see O. J. get off. But it was clear that many black people were, at least, prepared to seem delighted in front of the television cameras. And that surprised me. It surprised a lot of white people. And the more that white people like me, in the days that followed, expressed the surprise they felt at the sight of people dancing in the streets because a man who obviously murdered his wife escaped justice, the sadder I became.

This sadness had little to do, God forgive me, with the victims. It was not because of the miscarriage of justice or the way such public celebration suggested the degree to which black people felt estranged from, and brutalized by, the criminal-justice system and wanted, at the very least, some kind of crude recompense for the acquittal of the men who had beaten Rodney King three and a half years earlier. I was sad because I knew that my astonishment at the public celebration, like the astonishment of any astonished white person under the circumstances, was indexed directly to the absence of black people in my life. It was the blinking indicator on my dashboard, letting me know that my connection to the lives and feelings of black people had been cut.

In the fall of 1969, when I was 6, my family moved to Columbia, Md. Columbia was a new town, a planned community, a City of the Future built ex nihilo in the middle of what had been tobacco country, about 30 miles from Washington. It was avowedly utopian in its aims, transformative in its ambitions. It featured large, well-tended swaths of public open space, schools without classrooms, accessible public transportation, a single ecumenical worship center shared by all faiths, streets named for the works of great poets and novelists. Most wondrously of all, this particular City of the Future was integrated.

I had known very few black people up to then, and I had no real consciousness of race apart from what I derived from television and movies and half-understood adult conversation on the subject, not all of it enlightened. Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated; cities on fire; Angela Davis’s Montgolfier hairstyle; Curt Flood’s upsetting white baseball fat cats; my grandmother’s cryptic warnings when she took me walking through her Washington neighborhood; Sammy Davis Jr.’s crooning “Mr. Bojangles” on “The Flip Wilson Show.”

One day early in my first fall in Columbia, starting first grade, I found myself placed next to a little black kid. His name was Darius, and I just sat there, marveling at him, undergoing that classic — indeed trite — little-white-kid moment of First Contact. Darius’s hair was dense, buoyant and lustrous, his pupils hidden in the deep brown irises of his eyes. But what amazed me most of all were his hands. The skin on their backs was an intense, complex hue that held elements of brown and a luminous purple. And when Darius turned his hands over — when he permitted me to turn them over myself — the skin of his palms was as pink as my own. Along the outer edges of each hand, and across the inside of each wrist ran a mysterious frontier between pink and brown that I patrolled with the tip of a finger. It felt as if some deep explanation, the answer to some question I could not even begin to pose, lay concealed in the pink palms of his hand and the way they contrasted with the brown of the backs.

As I came to understand it, as a child, the idea of building the new town of Columbia was to make life better in America. One way the people who built Columbia saw fit to do that was to give white people and black people the chance to engage in the radical activity of living next door to one another, unrolling sleeping bags in the den for one another’s children, swimming in public pool water that had been equally tainted with the urine of those same freely mingling kids, touching one another’s hands, allowing them to be touched. On the street where I grew up, there were more black families than white. I tackled, head-faked, ate dinner with, teased, admired, quarreled with, lusted after, learned to dance from, had crushes on, watched television and eventually drank beer with black girls and boys from the time I was 6 until the day I left for college.

The success of this dream, dreamed originally by James Rouse, may be open to debate, but from the day I turned over the mystery of Darius’s palm, I was plunged into intimacy with black people, with all the unreserve and boldness of Rouse’s and my own small, visionary heart.

I was taught by black teachers alongside black children from diverse backgrounds — poor and middle class, Southern and Northern, country and ghetto, Army brats and the children of black lawyers and doctors — that the battle for civil rights was a shining part of American history, very much on the model of the Second World War. A terrible conflict had consumed the efforts of people I considered to be my personal heroes, and then the good guys had won. For proof of this, I needed to look no further than my best friends, my neighbors, my favorite teachers, so many of whom were black. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Charles Drew: in the City of the Future, in 1970, a young Jewish boy could look at the lives of these people and feel connected to them, indebted to them — in a very real way, descended from them. Because if there was one salient fact about the black history that I learned, from the lips of black teachers, as a boy growing up in Columbia, Md., it was this: Black history was my history too. Black music was my music, and black art was my art, and the struggles and the sufferings of black heroes were undertaken not just for the sake of their fellow African-Americans but for my sake, and for the good of us all.

When I left the City of the Future to attend college in Pittsburgh, I began the journey that eventually landed me at last in the capital of the eternal American present: Los Angeles. And on that morning of the Simpson verdict, I discovered, to my shame, to my absolute wonder and horror, that in the course of that journey I had, somehow, become a racist. To qualify as a racist you don’t have to go to the extreme of slurring, stereotyping or discriminating against people of another race. All you have to do, as I realized on that autumn morning in 1995, is feel completely disconnected from them. All you have to do is look at those people in a kind of almost scientific surprise, as I looked at the African-Americans I passed in the streets of L.A. in the days after the Simpson verdict, and realize you have been passing them by in just this way, for months, for years at a time. They were here all along, thinking what they think now, believing what they now believe, and somehow you failed to notice.

That was the source of the sadness I felt when I turned on the television and watched black Los Angeles exult: the sudden, bitter awareness of my own failure, of my own blindness, of the apartheid of consciousness under whose laws I had gradually come to live, of the distance that separated the man in Los Angeles, around whom 100,000 humans could suddenly materialize, from the boy in Columbia, the son of Tubman and Drew and Rosa Parks.

A couple of years went by, and my wife and I moved up to the East Bay, to a brown-shingled house near the Berkeley-Oakland line. For the first time in years I found myself right at the heart of yet another would-be utopia, living significant portions of every day among people of color. Brokeland — my name for the seam, the joint, the ragged fringe along which Berkeley and Oakland stalk each other like a couple of cats, shoulder to shoulder, flank against flank, tails intercoiling. A land of D.I.Y. Fourierists and urban foragers, amateurs of satori, bliss gardeners and self-theorists and mystics whose visions were recorded on their skins with needles and ink. A collective of hermits, whose fierce, at times cranky attachment to their own individual development was matched by only their yearning for fellowship, for a kind of collective fulfillment, in a permanent cycle of community and schism that launched a thousand ashrams, synagogues, dojos and schools of cuisine.

I tended to encounter my fellow yearning hermits primarily in one variety of a certain style of quirky, small business in which Brokeland abounded, shops that specialized in some kind of merchandise about which it was easy to become obsessed — vacuum-tube stereo amplifiers, say, or avant-garde knitting supplies or black-and-white milkshakes — places with long counters and extra chairs to pull up for an hour’s conversation with the owner or your fellows in solitude. Of all these nonalcoholic taverns of the soul, these unofficial clubhouses of the oddball and outré, the purest, to my mind, were, and remain, the used-record stores. Berigan’s, dba Brown, Groove Yard, Dave’s, they come and go — but there are always a few of them around, cramped and dusty or tidy and well ordered, owned and staffed by doomed heroes of fandom.

One day, not long after moving to the East Bay, I walked into one of those used-vinyl soul taverns, just on the Oakland side of the city line. There was a big black dude working the counter and a little white guy carrying in boxes from the back. The morning’s customers had arranged themselves at the front counter ­ — old, young, black, white and brown, Jews and gentiles, a dentist, a guy out of work — theorizing, opining, tearing off woof tickets. Hanging together.

I didn’t kid myself that these guys were united in perfect brotherhood. They had not bound up the nation’s racial wounds or invented a better America. Nobody was asking for or granting forgiveness or reparations for slavery. They were just shooting the breeze, passing the time, talking about something they loved: vintage vinyl. In a little pocket of the big world, for a little hour. Soon they would go their very separate ways, into their discontinuous and disunited lives, in the hills and in the flatlands, to Section 8 housing and to pristine Eichlers. But for the moment, for once, for the first time in years, flipping through the bins, inhaling the time-heavy perfume of moldering LPs, I was where I had wanted to be all along. I had found a place where at least a trace of what I lost on that journey from Columbia to Ito-land, the dream I had believed in, the closeness I once knew, could be found. I was home.

Not long after that, the shop went out of business — it is in the nature of Utopia to go out of business — and it has never really quite been replaced. And so, once again, as in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” as in “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” I found myself obliged, and eager, to recreate through fiction, through storytelling and prose, the lost utopia that never quite happened, that I never quite knew, that I have never since forgotten and that I have been losing, and longing for, all my life.

______

SOURCE:  The New York Times, O.J. Simpson, Racial Utopia And The Moment That Inspired My Novel, By Michael Chabon, September 27, 2012

%d bloggers like this: