The Odyssey is the story of Americans up to the point where they are well-established, and even so it is detached from the historical side.
The African Americans’ story is one that seems to be a repeated commitment to a scenario for success and failure. With each failure, the blow is that much more traumatizing until finally one reaches a point where there is to some degree an internalization, skepticism, fatalism, and expectation that it isn’t going to work.
It’s the classic story form. All staying equal, or proving equal, or being equal, this will all continue, and the next time around, we’ll move on to see what happened to Harry after he dove in the river, or who his friend John really was, and so on.
When tragedy strikes, or even when it looms, our families will have the opportunity to look into our hearts to see whether we know what we said we knew. Our children will watch, feel the Spirit confirm that we lived as we preached, remember that confirmation, and pass the story across the generations.
In anything you write – in a short story, a poem – there has to be a counter-motion; it can’t go all in one direction.
The deciphering of ancient scripts changed forever the way Europeans were able to imagine the story of humanity, destroying centuries of received authority about the past with repercussions as important for our understanding of time and history as the geological studies of the same period.
I was a better writer when I was teaching. I was constantly going over the basics and constantly reminding myself, as I reminded my students, what made a good story, a good poem.
‘The Art Student’s War’ is, at its core, a traditional American wartime love story. As such, it is timely and engrossing. By the end, all its principal characters ‘have been to Hell and back.’
The murder of Lumumba, in which the U.S. was involved, in the Congo destroyed Africa’s major hope for development. Congo is now total horror story, for years.
I grew up reading 19th-century novels and late Victorian children’s books, so I try for a good story full of coincidence and error, landscape and weather. However, the world was radically changed during my lifetime, and I tell of that battering as best I can.