When I write it is often a plea or has a correlation to desires I possess in my day to day life. I write the world I'd like to see as opposed to the one I live in. Very simple method displacement. I take the reality that bothers me and I replace it with a viable beautiful one. So of course my genre is romance. I find the world in my sight to be painfully devoid of true romance, honest passion and selfless love. So I write about it. I pair up people and give them hell and let them figure out where they stand, what they want, and what they need.
A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to change the world. So I began mapping my Sci-Fi series which will be called loosely and subject to change Genesis 2020. I'm giving humanity a spiritual reboot of sorts. This series features a changing of the guards as mortals will attain immortality in some instances, some will be the earth mothers and fathers of a new generation of humans, and many will be there to see to it all.
One of the books that I began features a couple that I feel like expresses the most conflicting dynamic in American culture. The male is a white, southern, high powered movie producer. The woman a mixed race poor artist. I met Colan and Fiona in a dreamscape. They were hiding in a place that I seldom find myself in yet have made the most wonderful discoveries there. I call it my space of truth. They contacted me and wanted to tell me their story. It’s a good one, and they knew that someone like me would understand.
When you live life as an American, especially a dark female American from a poor southern family there are many aspects of life from your childhood that you were never included in or invited to. Somewhere along the way you have to either conform to low expectations or refuse the whole damn thing. I chose the latter. To this day I cannot place my finger on how or why because I've never really seen much that was different than what is portrayed on television, in movies, or magazines like everyone else. I chalk it up to my mother's unending faith in me to be who I needed to be and not settle for who others wanted me to be.
|Classic Romance Novel Cover|
I say this because media is what it is. In my recollection the 80s where overrun by respectability politics and racial caricatures. But that was for everyone, white, black, red, yellow, male, female, teenagers, and children. Everyone had a prescribed formula. It wasn't till the late 90s early 2000s that characters became deeply complex people. All accept for women and minorities. So not even close to everyone. As a dark woman I've always taken those images with a grain of salt as I much preferred getting lost in a book as opposed to an unrealistic impersonation of who I was supposed to be. The irony is that you tell yourself it’s not that bad. You actually try to accept some of it as truth because the alternative is too much to bear, which is the evidence of others denying you and those like you the very basic staples of humanity.
One night I was shown how bad it was. I was dreaming with Colan. He showed me a place that he would like for American film and cinema to get to now that he's head over heels for our lovely Fiona. You'll get to read the fit Fiona put him in for the first book of the 9 set series called Life Goes On sometime next year. It wasn't just a breaking in spiritual realization as much as it was an epiphany of a lifetime of strategic and collaborative brain washing. As an artist Fiona forced Colan to see the things she could see and to replace the images he often associated with grace, beauty, love and valor with an image hardly ever associated with it in mainstream media. His open eyes became mine.
|See how gorgeous we all are: http://humanae.tumblr.com/|
For years I thought the portrayals of dark skinned people both men and women where as fair as possible and this instance destroyed that thought. I told myself it would be nearly impossible to reproduce the vivid imagery of that understanding in the written word. How can I show what I saw? The scene was resplendent. A scene of love and courage, the beauty of it pouring from the two souls. The scene was shot close, mostly faces of the man and the woman. They were exchanged plateaus of love and affection. She glowed in the scene. Her lovely brown skin showing all the colors hidden there within. No brown is just brown, it’s a sea of shades of yellow, red, bronze, beige, slightly bruised peaches and chocolate milk. Papaya and carrots, beets and butternut squash. His skin reflecting a myriad of colors as well. They stared into each other's eyes intently with purpose and grace. Love pouring true. She was going to leave, trying to leave because it’s what she thought he needed. The heroine, constantly by his side and pulling him though his darkness. He's grateful, complete and fulfilled from the journey. Through shared pain and shared grace they had found that point, that moment of divine grace within each other.
At no time did the scene reposition to show her breasts. The language used was vernacular English, no so called 'black' speak. The man and woman were on equal footing. The lighting just so to give the ethereal nature of the connection. No body shots at all, this was an intellectual meeting of the minds and a stunning interaction of the soul. It was saying nothing but everything in Lost in Translation, it was the unveiling of the art room in 50 First Dates, it was "Thanks for the Adventure" in Up. It was every instance of pure beautiful perfect love I've ever seen that made me cry and yearn for a love like that which now I saw, never had previously contained a single dark face.
When I woke the image of it blazed brightly in my mind. Complete, perfect and beautiful and I knew in that moment that I had never seen it. It wasn't part of my lexicon as a lover of romance. There was not a single movie I could recall where the scene had been built so painstakingly and so beautifully. Never for someone who was dark. Our love is always relegated to giving in and giving up like Jason's Lyric, or Love Jones. Sent to the seediest place, over sexualized, over stimulated and then tainted with tragedy. Calm acceptance in the face of insurmountable odds like Monster's Ball. Happy endings need not apply because they are happy enough. But not only that, those moments of true blissful acceptance and love are lost, never viewed or portrayed as something you would die for. Our moments of triumph always involve being given the opportunity to excel, still not quite human, but good enough in some matters of social change and of course feats of athletic excellence. But a love story. A true story of love between people of color that involves nothing more than a heartfelt desire to create the most perfect moment even if all others are lost is beyond us. Not seen, built and not given. Those stories of true love are found as standalone testimonies of dark women learning to accept and love themselves, implying that the rest of the world is not capable. We are too foreign, too unrecognizable as lovable beings to hope for anything more.
The loss I felt at that realization was one of the most profound moments in my life. As a woman who is encased and dependent on love, it never struck me that the reason why it always seemed like such an unsolvable mysterious fairytale was more than just inexperience. It’s an internalized attitude of love not being an available commodity for those like me. Love was contingent to acceptance, something that is usually not a part of the American experience for anyone regardless of background, yet even more so for those of the other variety. So the outliners of love became obvious points of acceptance. Perhaps love can overcome the racial issues in a relationship, the cultural calamities, even the religious bias. But love, for the sake of love was not a possibility. As a person of color you must be exemplary and perhaps someone will forgive your background enough to develop a passing acceptance and affection for you and this includes other people of color.
|How it Can Feel|
The stunning truth of what I had been shown all my life crippled me for hours. I cried as if everything beautiful and precious in this world had been stolen from me. I cried as if all faith and hope was lost. I cried for the crime committed to so many like me. I cried for my femininity which suffers blows of lack of love constantly as I blame my figure, my not so perfect face, my hair length for lack of love. I cried for my darkness that rendered me unlovable for more of the population than I would like to know. Mostly I cried for my humanity because of all the things lost with the realization that love was not something portrayed as something I was fully capable of that was the one that denied me all I've ever wanted in life.
Love, the ability to feel it, give it and receive it is an inalienable human concept. Personhood of other animals is usually determined by the ability to attain complex thought and love. You will find that they are not mutually exclusive as we equate complex thought without emotion as an inanimate function. Emotions, and not just any emotions, but love specifically is the high bar for being human. Being willing to risk all for love, to survive for love, to overcome for love. In many ways none is more human than romantic love. The inexplicable pull and tug to a complete stranger for no comprehensible reason shows the extraordinary capacity of humanity and life. To be denied that, in any form is tantamount to death. Stolen then are the chances to redeem the glory of all life holds that is sublime and precious.
|Who Love is For|
When people are cut out of stunning and moving instances it not only cripples the people who are not being portrayed. It equally cripples the people who are, who are being told that love comes in shades of beige, blonde, maybe redhead or brunette. That love has a certain figure and form. Being told that love exists within confined spaces determined by socioeconomic and religious guidelines. Those being told that what they may feel for someone who is not of this character mold must not be real because its outside of the lines where love lives.
I came to the understanding years ago as my marriage fell apart and birthed my path as an author that I was, still am, and will always be a love based creature. As love left my life I had to create new ways to pull it back in. I cannot live without love. I craft for joy and I create for passion. I reach out for love, always reaching out for love. I will always write of love and the beauty it brings to this place. I'll write of the lives it has changed. I'll write of the healing it has done. And I will write it with faces that we never get to see experiencing these amazing events with hope in my heart that those days will end one day and love will be truly available and visible for all.
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