Toni Morrison Paved The Road to The Writer in Me

Toni Morrison was an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. She won The Nobel Peace Prize  in 1993 for her visionary force and huge impact left on our hearts by her words.

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

-Toni Morrison

For me personally, Morrison’s death hit me hard as a woman, and as a writer. As a little girl, you would always find a book in my hand drifting away from reality and entering the world and the feelings a great book takes me. It didn’t simmer in me until I was a teenager that I was born to be a writer despite what I faced or the pain I didn’t want to write about. I remember when I got my copies of The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved smiling like I just won the lottery. Tar Baby came a few years later in my presence after I spotted a copy at a local garage sale. A piece of yellow tape on the top right corner of the book read in black marker: $1. Sometimes, the best things you discover happens in the strangest places. It was one of the best dollars I ever spent.

Letting fear get the best of me for so many years, I thought no one would want to hear what I had to write about even though I was a writer. I always had that feeling inside that I was destined to spill words. Queen Toni has a quote that states, “if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” That simple statement hit me instantly like a freight train to my face…but in a good “wake-up call” kinda way. The words hit me differently when I heard Toni Morrison passed away. From the great black women novelists like Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde and so many others paving the road to freedom writing,  Morrison was a force to me.  She taught me to embrace and enjoy the work I create and manifest (no matter what anyone thinks of it), and inspire others in the way I live.

Toni and Angela Davis
Toni Morrison mentoring Activist Angela Davis


Listed below are some of my favorite quotes from Toni Morrison 

“Love is never any better than the lover. ”

-The Bluest Eye, 1970

 

“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

– Song of Solomon, 1977

 

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

– Song of Solomon, 1977

“They encouraged you to put some of your weight in their hands and soon as you felt how light and lovely it was, they studied your scars and tribulations…”

-Beloved, 1977

 

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

-Beloved, 1977

 

At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don’t need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens -that letting go – you let go because you can.”

– Tar Baby, 1981

 

“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.” 

– Song of Solomon, 1977

 

“All narrative begins for me as listening. When I read, I listen. When I write, I listen—for silence, inflection, rhythm, rest.”

Tar Baby, 1981

 

“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.”

-Beloved, 1970

 

toni morrison3
R.I.P. Queen ❤ 
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