“A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind. They are a necessity.”
In diving into this work, into any Toni Morrison book, I felt I had to hold my breath. Only releasing it in pauses of this 4-part book. At the end of my reading, my emotions had run the gamut.
One of the reasons why I so revere her is her willingness to be honest in a way that is raw, yet sophisticated. I won’t lie, sometimes Morrison’s work can be a little elevated. But if you can read Shax, you can read Morrison.
If you are Black, I encourage you to read Morrison.
This is a book that I decided that I want to get every writer that I know. It is that powerful of a work! It is a collection of her essays, personal reflections and commencement speeches. However, what she has allowed to be seen, and read of us? I was moved to tears.
As I went through this work on Audible, I was snapping up any and every tiny once of information she poured out! I have never in my years of buying books on Amazon and Audible, I have never bought a book in both medias–electronic and hardback. Until now. It was that good. It is that powerful.
From matters of race and class; wealth and privilege; feminism and Black womanhood, Toni Morrison, in the twilight of her life, has given us so much. It is rich, it is formidable and it is needed. She does what she has always done in her work–confront and provoke! I found myself in a Baptist church girl shout more than once as I went through this book! There were things that she talked about, wrote about, that I wished my own mother had the savvy to say to me! That I wished my grandmother hand to gumption to tell me!
The Source of Self-Regard is one of those books that is an essential book to begin to decolonize your library. It is a book that can be read more than once. It can also be used as a reference material as well!
Like any good grandmother, before she leaves the world, she leaves something for their children and grandchildren. Like her contemporary Ntozake Shange, she has written for Black girls not yet in the world. For writers afraid or ashamed of their work to do–or left undone. Toni has given us the permission to create. Permission to confront. Permission to dream and envision the better for the world we inhabit.
Read this. Gift this. Refer to this. Use this book.
Decolonize your library.
Remember the words of Audre Lorde, which shaped the theme for this month:
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”