"Black literature is not taught as a serious, rigorous artform"
Toni Morrison (via zorascreation)
THIS. And it’s ridiculous because Black literature is some of the best literature I have ever read. And I read a lot. But I’m telling you, man—the way Black writers can take a sentence written in the queen’s English and make it speak their lives is nothing short of literary magic.
Read Frederick Douglass’s Narrative. Right now. Go pick up that book and tell me that even from a purely rhetorical standpoint it’s not one of the most impeccably written texts you’ve ever beheld. But no one will tell you that. They’ll tell you it’s a book written by a former slave and that’s all that matters. Yes, that matters. Of course it does. But Douglass’s way with words would still take my breath away even if he were born into royalty.
"Don’t beg anybody for anything, especially love."
"…she lived out her days exploring her own thoughts and emotions, giving them full reign, feeling no obligation to please anybody unless their pleasure pleased her. As willing to feel pain as to give pain, to feel pleasure as to give pleasure, hers was an experimental life…"
"You think because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn’t want you anymore that he is right — that his judgment and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, beacuse the clouds let him; they don’t wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself."
"There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smooths and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind—wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place."