I am inviting you to read a section of my novel-in-progress over at Intellectual Refuge Literary Journal. The novel, Speaking of Summer, is the story of a sister who wants to know the true events and motivations behind her twin sister’s mysterious death by falling, assumed to be a suicide. In process of getting to the bottom of what happened to her sister, she discovers much more about herself than she knew there was to know. I am hoping to finish a story about unbreakable bonds between black women, sisters, friends and women in general. And unlike much of my writing about young people, borderline literary YA, it is turning out to be a bit more sexy and even fun despite the seriousness of the reasons I want to write it.
I was working on the book as the unfortunate events and publicity began around the passing of Sandra Bland, whose family does not believe she would take her own life and I don’t blame them, given the circumstances. On July 13, 2015, a state trooper pulled Ms. Bland over for an apparent illegal lane change. From there, a completely unnecessary conversation and sequence of events led to her failed self-defense against a temper-prone officer.
Even if she did have a powerful moment of low self-worth and hopelessness about her life and future to hang herself three days later, what had happened to her in the days prior certainly played its latent part. It most probably instigated her shattered state of mind. For relatively peaceful and non-criminal people, environments of forced confinement, such as jails and psychiatric wards, can be distressing and disorienting enough to cause mental problems not there before. Everyone involved in Ms. Bland’s arrest should be held accountable.
As I write about the fictitious world and characters in the new novel, I want to know why this whole real world loves to talk about “depression” and “bipolar,” not to mention far too many people love to play analyst and spiritual guru to anyone who expresses a non-happy or ” not positive” human emotion; however, we never see Black women as needing care for our emotions and minds unless cowardly others believe we are angry or threatening. This can be a lonely life, relegating sad or disappointed Black women to therapists many can not afford or small circles of other Black women just as stressed as they are, so perhaps not always available to uplift them.
In Speaking of Summer, the Black women appear to have it all: great homes, men, careers, girlfriends, beauty. But there is a cost to keeping the realities of how they feel about their treatment in the world such a closed secret, and a scary danger no one will have to come along to push them off a ledge because they will do it themselves. I am hoping to create something here that sheds a light on such a societally-enforced existence of silent suffering, just too often experienced in bulk by African-American women subject to the same stereotypes as their men. I thank editor Christopher Schnieders for publishing this small piece of it and I look forward to finishing it, to share more to come!
Abandoned in the Matrix: Frankea Dobbs, Struggling Mothers, and Mental Health… Link
Stop Calling Me a Strong Black Woman… Link
Is Strong Black Womanhood Killing Our Sisters?… Link
‘For Brown Girls’ Founder Karyn Washington’s Death Strikes Major Chord in Black Community… Link
What Billie and Phyllis Sang About… Link