This New Year, I’m searching for a new path. I’m disappointed with my legacy in terms of my craft. Who isn’t? But for the effort and the time, there’s simply not enough work or enough work of consequence. I’ve had it with distractions, set back, confusion and frustration.
I’ve decided to flip the switch and take some major chances. I want to make an impact: to leave behind a life and a body of work that speaks to our times and hopefully beyond, that inspires, explains and complicates.
A few years ago, Russell Goings, a friend and associate of Romare Bearden challenged me to think about creating a new black mythology. We were at an exhibit of late Bearden work at the Schomburg, a research library in New York. I’ve thought a lot about our conversation since then. Bearden paid some very heavy dues. He spent decades as a social worker. He was adamant about claiming the right to speak powerfully about African Americans, especially Harlem and the Great Black Migration. But he also remained a citizen of the world.
That’s a hard balance to strike. Sometimes I think we’ll never advance between Marlon Rigg’s construction: Black Is. Black Ain’t. I want to enjoy being my own female, feminine, powerful black self. At the same time, I don’t want to be in the woman box or the black box. I would love to find the way to my own Daughters of the Dust. My own Nothing But a Man. Engaging work of intelligence, beauty and power.
Today I finished my full length play, the end of everything. Next up, the final draft of the already cast and partially rehearsed abortion short. Life is full rich and wonderful. It can be better if I don’t major in the minors, refuse to hide and honor my gifts.
I’m up for it. But like Mark, I believe Lord, but help my unbelief. I’m praying for courage, stamina and discipline for you and for me, because circles rise together.