something pushing up through the loam


It's not easy thinking up original titles. . . . Anyway, off tomorrow to another academic gig at Temple U. A callback, I guess, from a professor who attended a Frbruary program and invited us to a larger thing. But not that large, and no stipend. I guess stipends are a thing of the past. But I always sell some books, sometimes sell out, and I'll get to see the boys the next day. Kaki's already down there and heading for her mom's in Virginia after, me right back up here to the new book, a novel, "Real Moon." But another, about race, seems to be pushing up too. It was around while I wrote Walk with Us - how I experienced race growing up, a souls of white folk type book, or maybe more like Ralph Ellison's milestone novel, his only novel, Invisible Man.

Experimental in form, about race but not didactic, intense and reflective at the same time. It shook me when I read it in my early twenties - the pure power of the prose, and the weightiness of the symbolism. The book forged its own form, because realism wasn't real enough and naturalism not big enough to contain its insights.

No wonder I feel a little blocked when I think about undertaking a work that even dares to try to approach what he accomplished . . . but I feel a form incubating in me that could hold what I have to say...

Notice Tahija's pseudonym in the book is Ellison. And another fact - Time Magazine ranked Invisible Man in its top 100 best English language novels since 1923. So, if you haven't read it yet you have something to anticipate! I'd loan you my copy but it's very marked up. Here's the terse prologue - clear, intense, private and historical at the same time, somehow.

And here is the first chapter, the longer, much-anthologized, gripping "Battle Royal." Works as a short story.