I have the opportunity to travel to Denver, NYC, L.A. and Paris in the next two (2!) months to present my creative work and I couldn't be more excited or anxious--like anxiety anxious but in a good way-- and of course humbled. I can't go to all the conferences not only because three of the [...]
He took sex instead of your life; maybe the glass bottle he threw at you missed; you were named “bitch” and any other list of monikers that do not appear on your birth certificate; the old woman turned on the porch light and startled him and his pistol away; he left you in the street alone and lost in a city that was not your own. You made it out alive. None of those were missteps of the fragile male ego or drunkenness. They were not about how you lead him on or were rude or rash when you refused to comply to his demand for your attention. They were about the agency you have over your life and how you live it and being denied that agency so often
5 years ago…
“Her father, a preacher, is already not happy with her first semester grades, but he’s allowed her to return to Richmond from Detroit to redeem herself. So far, she’s doing a bang up job and all because, ‘Ms. Scott, I guess I like the rush.’
I suggest she consider sky diving instead. It’s, at least, regulated.
Today I ran like the fool child I am. 18.74 miles to be exact.”
Within a single semester I receive doctors notes from quiet, bright Simone-with-the-dimples to excuse her absences and allow her to make up missed assignments.
Today she returns to class after a week long hiatus with a new note: this one for an infection. She confides in me: “Those notes, Ms. Scott, are because I had to have 2 abortions.” This infection came from a glitch in the last abortion.
The second semester she returns to repeat my class. She starts missing assignments pretty early. This weekend she’s found herself at a party in some unsavory part of the city. She’s trying to change her ways, she tells me, and the guy who took her to the, erehem, gathering is angry that she won’t have sex with him. So he leaves her to find her own way back to the campus.
When I ask Simone how she finds these “friends” she…
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"Only the black woman can say 'when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.'" Anna Julia Cooper
I'm back from a beautiful weekend at the Southern Writers' Symposium...My voice shook. I got anxious. And too warm. And it was still a blast.
She remembered holding his hand, thumbing the meaty part under his thumb. And she remembered how she hardly ever held his hand. Or smiled. She remembered how he smelled—soapy—and his minty breath. He said he brushed his teeth because he planned to kiss her. She remembered him fingering her eyebrows. And his eyes. She remembered [...]
After lunch he lays in her lap. She twists his hair while they watch game shows and soaps. He feels her up; she slaps his hand. Your head is heavy. She twists some more. They go out for a walk holding hands. His father’s neighborhood does not have the eyes of hers or his mom’s and as free as she feels here she knows the escape is not permanent. So when we gonna do this again?
But he has known since he met her that the girl on the other line owns herself. Only you surprise yourself by how much. You worry when he laughs, “Just wondering.” But there is more than wondering you hear.
There is never a question and this, too, you believe appropriate to the narrative. His forcefulness is desire. His kisses, all tongue with nary a preliminary peck, are invitations not to be denied. And why would you deny them? You like him. You like his kisses. You enjoy his touch. What should come next is a part of the narrative you have not been given from The Women. So you wing it with what you believe. They give you onomatopoeia and warnings against Temptation and anecdotes about being Fast. You’re not Fast. And until now are not easily given to Temptation.
A Guide to Picking Scabs She was a melancholic girl then she was a young woman with a sweet public face and private potty mouth. She felt unloved but mostly unnoticed, unsure, and determined. (To be better wasn’t her mission; to deal or die was). She spent an inordinate amount of time considering her own [...]