Saturday, May 26, 2018

When the Choir Preaches Back

"I don't want to be told
what to write
I can excavate my own content
I want to be pushed into
digging deep wells
in unheard of lands.
I want you to give me eyes
in the back of my head.
Be a thunder clap
and rouse me.
Be an earthquake
make me tremble
Be a river raging rampant
in my veins.
Shock me shitless."
~ Gloria Anzaldua (1974)*

If you find Gloria Anzaldua quoted in the Foreward to a book you just began reading (as I did when I began reading the one this post is about), you should probably pause to buckle the seat belt of your psyche or you might find yourself suddenly flying into the air and free-falling down whatever personal mountain you're currently on. Gloria Anzaldua is no one to play with. And Deborah Santana, author/editor/film producer and philanthropist, who believes that people of gentleness and faith can change the world, is no one to play with either. The latest proof of this is a hugely important new anthology of short essays by Women of Color representing a range of ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences.

Launched in January of this year, All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World ~ Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom, edited by Santana, hit the ground running, its cover and first few pages decorated with blurbs from the likes of Isabel Allende, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Alfre Woodard, among others. Invited to speak with Santana myself(!) before adding my review to such dignitaries' comments would have been daunting indeed had I not already been shocked shitless by the essays and very excited by the opportunity.