Honoring and thanking this legendary author.
– KEYS SOULCARE
We’re kicking off a series penned to those who inspire us, those we are grateful for — past, present, and future leaders, and shining examples in their own journeys.
“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” — Toni Morrison
My name is Amber Davis and as a member of the Keys Soulcare team, I’m honored to share and ask about a woman who inspires me to this day, Toni Morrison. If I was able to write a letter to Morrison, I’d ask about her bravery in standing alone in her message, her vulnerability in sharing the depths of her spirit in words, and her solitude in finding herself.
As a young woman growing up in the South, with a desire to create a picture I had not seen, I felt compelled to escape to worlds on pages, first with my mother’s voice reading the words and later with a point of view all my own. As a trailblazer, wielding pen, paper, and the stories of your ancestors, you created the streams of possibility through which Black creatives like myself ebb to this day. My ease to create, share, and find community are the fruits of you, a woman unafraid to acknowledge the unjust ways of the world, and personal setbacks, as you moved forward anyway.
Your first published book emerged from years of pivots, and at the age of 39 you penned The Bluest Eye. Growing into self-acceptance of your own nonlinear growth and the necessities of survival through work far from writing (as a book editor, a single mom of 2, and known to awake at 4 a.m. just to get your own personal writing projects done), you shared your gifts with me in the form of Beloved, Song of Solomon and the recently published The Source of Self Regard. For the New Yorker, you wrote about how you pursued your passion while working to survive.
Your perseverance, trust in process, and ability to hold us, make us cry, and act — simply with prose — is unparalleled. Double — and triple — duty is not a new concept for me, but this beacon of hope on the story of a woman creating her own narrative, and graciously sharing it, is pure inspiration.
Your words will forever echo down the halls of my heart, and leave a larger than life imprint on history’s pages. Thank you.
Illustration by Koji Yamamoto.