“Wait, would you raise a girl or boy in Mississippi or the South if you could do it again?”
“If I had to raise a child now—no matter the gender—I would probably not choose Mississippi. There’s so much love and history of black excellence in our state, but the state’s structural commitment to black death is unparallelled.”
You want your journals written by hand in a book, because someday, if you have daughters — I don’t have daughters, but I have fairy goddaughters, thousands of them — all of these books are gonna go to them, and they’re gonna sit around just like we are now, and they’re gonna read them out loud, and they’re going to be able to know what my life was.” Then, pointedly, to Este: “And they’re not gonna find it in your phone.
Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists. There is, there has been, there will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their jobs with love and imagination…Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem that they solve.
Memoir must be written because each of us must possess a created version of the past. Created: that is, real in the sense of tangible, made of the stuff of a life lived in place and in history. And the downside of any created thing as well: We must live with a version that attaches us to our limitations, to the inevitable subjectivity of our points of view. We must acquiesce to our experience and our gift to transform experience into meaning. You tell me your story, I’ll tell you mine.