Posts Tagged ‘MLK’
Posted on September 4, 2012 - by Fikriyyah George
I have a reading coming up this Saturday and I am scared shitless. As I began to ask myself why, I remembered an old journal entry I wrote earlier last year:
“Some writers are valued more than others. If we were to take a distinct measure of something let’s say money, we would be able to discern how much words are worth. Big name authors who have proven that the public values their work by buying the book in droves get more money than say new authors who’s value in the market is yet to be precisely calculated, only predicted by several factors (genre, length, writing style, and such.)
What about those whose words were not intended for profit like Martin Luther King Jr. ’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”? His words were powerful and moving, but he made no money from them.
The letter was published in various formats and its effects are still felt to this day. His words are valuable because it resonated with many.
That’s one of my favorite words. Resonate.
As writers we write words that will hopefully resonate within our readers. It is when this happens that magic happens and books are sold. There are different kinds of resonance. When someone reads a character they can relate to, that’s a resonance. When a reader fears a character that’s another kind of resonance. It shakes your bones, and creates an internal difference, a physical reaction.
Reading Native Son by Richard Wright made me cry. The protagonist was an impoverished black youth by the name of Bigger Thomas whose deadly mistake was done out of fear. His pain was so palatable I cried as if I knew the man myself. Problem is I did know this man. Growing up in Brooklyn poverty was evident. I saw and still see men like Bigger. Men hustling cheaply made electronics and bootlegs in beauty salons and bus stops and train cars, congregating outside bodegas, cigarettes and hard stories in tow.
These men whose life was neither kind nor forgiving already felt this fear. They (spoiler alert) didn’t stuff a white woman in a furnace, but truly the fear of a society that didn’t understand and aimed to oppress, was etched in their faces as wrinkles and scars from literal battles fought and won in the prison system.
This made up character wasn’t so made up. The pain, the fear and the horror were clearly outlined. You felt it. This is resonance.”
When this resonance is felt books are read and sold. So I wonder in starting this blog and as my first reading is in two days at Brownstone Books at 7pm, how much are my words worth?
Originally posted 2010-03-15 18:33:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter