Thursday, March 04, 2010

I have the nerve

I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions."
     - Letter from Zora Neale Hurston to Countee Cullen

Recently I watched a PBS program on American Masters about Zora Neale Hurston called  "Jump at the Sun." The program first aired in 2008. I’m so glad I saw it. I’ve long been interested in Hurston’s personality and passionate life. I’ve read some of her books. I was drawn by her unique personality, the way she captured certain ways and times and people and their expressions in a way no one else could. Passionate, raw and bold, and still a Lady, she was brave and talented and also fierce in some ways.  She was well-loved by many, and adamant about capturing and preserving the life of her community on paper and film – the life as she saw and lived it.  One event in her literary life really got my attention. She and Langston Hughes were good friends. He traveled with her in Florida, documenting the ways of the community, learning along with her. They wrote a play together. Before the play was produced, as the story in the program was told, Zora disappeared for 3 years, and she removed his name from the manuscript and produced it under her own name. The two never spoke again. I think about this story and how sad it can be when close friendships are shattered. Also, how important it is when they are, for each party, and for others influenced by them. These two literary personalities influenced many, and the reason we hear about it now is because of their cultural presence and influence. If Zora was so adamant about copyright, about getting her own voice heard in its “truth,” then why would she have treated Langston Hughes this way? How would she treat an “enemy”?
Brave, talented, funny, fierce – and human.  Friendships in my life have come and gone as I have grown, moved, changed, and as my friends have moved on, changed, grown. Facebook has recently provided a new window into the worlds of many friends whom I haven’t spoken to since early school days (lifetimes ago!).  Contact revives memories. What creates the bonds of relationships?  One friend wrote me a letter once, a hard one to write, which taught me much about myself, and helped me appreciate my friend in infinite ways. We are not active friends now, except in the bonds which formed at another time and space. Her gifts to me live on. As I have studied Spiritual Philosophy and the Ethical Values of our human design, I have begun to realize the absolute nature of love as the energy of creation. I have come to think about loyalty beyond what I knew before. I fit full-blown the Taurus personality, as astrological signs describe – and I have always thought of myself as a very loyal person. Loyal to friends, loyal to family, loyal to…? I realize now that for much of my life I was loyal to beliefs more than truth, to beliefs more than unconditional love, which supports and inspires change and the graceful kindness which embodies loving change.  To begin to know my own mind – gaining the wisdom to know the absolute mind guided by love and the other Ethical Values which are our human spiritual design – feels very different than the sometimes chaos and confusion of “trying to be true.” It is not enough to “speak my mind” – how I act and how I am reflects the energy of who I am as a human being in this time and space. My relationship with my own energy has grown up!

If you've never read Dust Tracks on a Road, Hurston's Autobiography, pick it up sometime, flip to any page and you will find a sentence that makes you laugh out loud! I'm so glad that her books began to circulate again! "Out of print" is a sad declaration for such gifts.

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