Perhaps you haven’t discovered your favorite author until you feel – after reading their work – like you have nothing to say. Or nothing worth saying. In written word. Which is the vehicle said author used and therefore one that you could not possibly wield to any estimation of success.
I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.
All I know is, I thought I couldn’t love someone as much as or more than Toni Morrison. I lay awake at night, struggling with my love for Orson Scott Card in fact, trying to make sense of them both in this hierarchical world we’ve created. But all of that was before. Not before I started Invisible Man – I take a notoriously long time to either read amazing books or else to move beyond them…which is why this is also before I was able to wean myself off of Ender’s Game enough to read Speaker…and I can’t even …..try to….
I’m sorry. Where were we. So no, not before I started Invisible Man, but before I was WRECKED by it. It stopped everything. Half my life came to a screeching halt somewhere around the union of factory workers. I’d known it was going to happen back when the man had him read the letters he’d been handing out. I knew it was coming, even though it had never happened before. That’s the power of this narrative. The narrative.
[Total sidebar because that was meant to be a complete sentence but then Twelfth Night overtook it and it became, "The narrative itself til seven years heat shall not behold her face at ample view but like a cloistress she will veiled walk and water once a day her chamber round allthistoseasonabrothersdeadlovethatshewouldkeepfreshandlastinginhersadremembrance!" And somehow it totally works. Ahem.]
The narrative carried me, that’s the only way to explain it. I didn’t want to read ever again. It’s like eating something and being in ecstasy which is dampened all the while by the fact that you know this won’t be the last thing you ever taste. And that’s only dealing with the LANGUAGE.
SERIOUSLY. I can’t stress that enough. It’s written down on a stark, pale screen, so you couldn’t possibly understand me, but try, my pet. Because I remember the way a man walks down the street, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done. I remember the air at a party, the darkness interrupted in a bedroom. And we haven’t even gotten to what cannot even be considered commentary because it is too authentically encapsulated in this farce of a world he reveals to us to be something as trite as “commentary”. (Commentary is now trite, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done.)
No. I did not just read the book. But I wish I had. Although nothing I’ve written since would’ve happened, because why bother.
It does make me love ToMo more, as well, because her voice is her own and there’s room for her genius. I’ll admit I’ve read others and all I could think was they’ve read Ralph and it wrecked them.
So, why now. When I couldn’t even talk about this book in complete sentences for what seemed forever. Oh, no reason really, except that SOME DUDE CLAIMED IT HAD NO LITERARY MERIT. And usually, I wouldn’t mind. But someone printed his words because they apparently had something to do with this novel being BANNED in North Carolina.
We’re not gonna discuss banning books or the way it is sometimes for better or worse “understandable” – because you don’t need to discuss the controversy of banning to discuss that RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN IS BANNED SOMEWHERE. That is enough. No commentary or context needed. But just in case you want some:
And aside from the fact that it was the 50s not the 40s: You get me. I want that man publicly shamed.
*By the by, click the pic to see the NPR link. Only the first paragraph is about RayRay, but read the second one too because WHUT!
*P.S. I read this last night. Today I am sick. Coincidence? I think not.