who told you anybody wants to hear from you, you ain’t nothing but a black woman. – hattie gossett
Who am I, a poor Chicanita from the sticks, to think I could write. – Gloria E. Anzaldúa
As first generation writers, we defy the myth that the colour of our skin prevents us from using the pen to create. hattie gossett’s piece, the introduction to her first book, is presented here in recognition of that act of defiance. But it is not enough to have our books published. We must actively engage in establishing the criteria and the standards by which our work can be viewed.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, “Speaking in Tongues: The Third World Woman Writer,” This Bridge Called My Back, p. 181
Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released… And your main obsessions have power; they are what you will come back to in your writing over and over again. And you’ll create new stories around them. So you might as well give in to them. They probably take over your life whether you want them to or not, so you ought to get them to work for you.
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg, p. 47
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO:
Dr. John Sharpe of London, who in 1957, a decade before physicians in England could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman, took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a twenty-two-year-old American on her way to India.
Knowing only that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unknown fate, he said, “You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life.”
Dear Dr. Sharpe, I believe you, who knew the law was unjust, would not mind if I say this so long after your death:
I’ve done the best I could with my life.
This book is for you.
For those who do not know me well: I am a social media junkie. Not meaning that I spend every hour of my day on Instagram, Twitter, or even Facebook. But that I have a trusted source of media outlets that deliver to me an eclectic mix of ratchet/classy/world-wide happenings.
“… death is always with us and what matters is not to know whether we can escape it but whether we have achieved the maximum for the ideas we have made our own… We are nothing on Earth if we are not in the first place the slaves of a cause, the cause of the peoples, the cause of justice and liberty.”
Frantz Fanon, quoted in “Frantz Fanon (1925 – 1961),” Teodros Kiros, A Companion to African Philosophy, 217