Monday, November 01, 2010

How does it feel to be free of illusion?

Invisible Man replies: painful and empty

In the preface to SHADOW AND ACT Ralph Ellison says of his struggle to become a writer:

"I found the greatest difficulty for a negro writer was the problem of revealing what he truly felt, rather than serving up what Negroes were supposed to feel, and were encouraged to feel. And linked to this was the difficulty based on our long habit of deception and evasion, of depicting what really happened within our areas of American life, and putting with honesty and without bowing to ideological expediencies the attitudes and values which give Negro American life its sense of wholeness and which renders it bearable and human and, when measured by our own terms, desirable."

In his essay, "The World and the Jug" he says,

"...when the work of negro writers has been rejected they have all too often protected their egos by blaming racial discrimination, while turning away from the obvious fact that good art-- and Negro musicians are present to demonstrate this--- commands attention to itself...And they forget that publishers will publish almost anything which is written with even a minimum of competency."

"Ellison is, in other words, more concerned with the way a man confronts his individual doom than with the derivation of that doom; not pathos, but power, in its deepest inner sense, is what concerns him."---- John Crowe Ransom


I first read Ralph Ellison as a freshman at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas in 1984. I was stunned by his work and am still am today. It is brutal in its depiction of how African-Americans were brutalized in the south.


I won't be teaching in the spring. My life will take a drastic turn towards a steep finanical fall, but it is the best thing for me at this time. I am frightened but feel more free, a bit more healthy and ready to move on to another phase in my life. It is definitely not what I had anticipated for myself, but things have come to a cross roads, and I must take care of my health and try to write again, so I stay healthy.


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