The Queen artist Toni Morrison passed away this past Monday night. I found out on Tuesday , devastated. Toni Morrison has been a blessing to my life. Her use of language has been a lesson of continual giving. Show, don’t tell. Infuse words with the essence of feeling and soul. Depicting the humanity of Black people in a way that captured us in all of our fullness, Toni Morrison was unlike any other.
She was also prophetic. Listen to her 1993 acceptance speech when she won the Nobel prize in literature. She told us what was coming, what is here now:
I did a Facebook Live video sharing my thoughts on the day I learned of her passing. I almost made it to the end without crying. Almost.
The day I found out, I went to go see her documentary with my daughter. I really recommend you go see it.
When my teen and I were watching Toni Morrison’s documentary and she heard Queen Morrison say what she says about how something is messed up about you if you only feel big when someone is on their knees…she looked at me and said, “that’s what you say, too!” She didn’t realize that Queen Morrison is who gave me the language to impart that to her. In other words, I snatched that ish. Lol.
Toni Morrison was a master of language, crafting words that registered feelings across the spectrum. She infused characters with vivid qualities that resonated and lingered even as the pages stopped turning and you were left to mediate on the memory of the story. Hail she! Thank you for this master artist.