Are You a Joyce Vincent?

In this National Blog Posting Month, I decided to pick my favorite or most important work so far on my blog Negression. My eulogy of a total stranger, Joyce Vincent, remains the most personal piece of writing I have ever done publicly for the sheer emotional response I had to her story’s resonance in my life at the point when I wrote it. I think this chilling black female version of a “Sex in the City” tale will always stick out to me and beg attention. It is something I wish I had never had to write, because that means it would have never happened. But since I did have to write it, it was a privilege to learn about myself and my life and what I need to do for myself and for others through the pain of another who was unable to.

NEGRESSION

I

Joyce NY Times still from documentary film on Joyce Vincent: “Dreams of a Life”

There is a defining 21st Century Western World story about a Black female Londonder who passed away in her government-subsidized bedsit/SRO flat in 2003, as she wrapped Christmas presents and wrote Christmas cards—and she remained in there, seated on her couch, putrefying in her death, finally skeletizing, for the next three years. In 2006, a government agency kicked in the door to collect rent. Local officials concluded she had been there for at least three years based upon expiration dates of food in the refrigerator, the last known paid rent check, and the earliest postmark on unopened mail. The woman was 38 years-old when she died at home in her living room.

During the entire time she sat on her living room couch in front of Christmas gifts and cards, her living room television remained on and audible in the apartment hallways. For…

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