Thank you, Toni Morrison

As a writer, at this point, I’m a nobody.

Even though, I have been writing for fun since I was twelve, I didn’t believe that what I was writing, who I was as a writer, even my place in American society as a Black female speaking on behalf of Black females would resonate anywhere.

Then I read Sula. And I realized that my place in society as a Black female was an indomitable one. A revered (even if secretly) one. One where I make no apologies for who I am and give no regard to who you think I am.

This is who I was meant to be.

I was unsure whether my stories could see the light of day or even be appreciated in this society where I had recently found my place. Who wanted to see the poetry of black life?

Then I read Song of Solomon. And I realized…who wouldn’t want to? It was more beauty and more real emotion than I thought possible.

This is how I wanted to write.

I was disbelieving than any Black woman could make a dent in writing notoriety. That even if I did become a novelist, who could crack into that white male pantheon of classical and celebrated literature?

Then Toni Morrison won the Nobel.

So, I echo the sentiments of a lot of us–nobodies and not–who are inspired by you, who are celebrated just because we dared to walk in your footprints, and who still believe the dream that you made a reality.

Thank you, Mrs. Morrison.

Featured Image Photo credit: Toni Morrison, 1970. Photo by Bert Andrews. Photo accessed from “Our Professor: A Toni Morrison Memory” Duke University Press