The Sun Is Real

February

How do children get revenge on the adults responsible for the evil done to them?  How do grownups recover from having failed to defend a child? Can revenge be enjoyed without harming ourselves?

These are questions evoked by the intensely moving and beautifully presented Netflix offering from South Africa: SAVAGE BEAUTY. They are questions I have pondered over a lifetime, but especially during decades of hesitating, then committing to work on, the widespread disgrace of the “reshaping” of children’s bodies to suit adult fantasies: facial cutting, and, specifically, female genital mutilation.  I don’t think parents, and other adults, imagine, that while they may be culturally and ideologically supported in harming the integrity of a child’s body, the child may grow up to realize a different mind set than was had, submissively, as a six or seven year old, and deeply abhor what has been done.  In my work listening to women who were “cut” as children, sometimes as infants, I have heard many stories that chilled my heart. There is anger. Quite a lot of it. A rage that must go somewhere. I have wondered: How much peace, in the world, is destroyed because of a child’s impotent hurt? And who are we, as adults, to stand silently by?

This series, about a beauty “Empire” in post apartheid South Africa that deals in destructive skin bleaching creams, and is not about the cutting of faces or mutilation of genitals, challenges adults to be prepared to reap the consequences of even “well intended”  harm done to defenseless children who may grow up to seek revenge.~aw


January

Alice Walker inside home 2023

The Welcome Table for Oprah. January 29th.
Photo by Alice Walker 2023

Happy Birthday
Astounding One.
A phenomenon
Of global connectivity
As unexpected
As a second
Moon.
You teach us
Many things:
That we can grow
In complexity
& generosity
To others
And to Self
As well as move
the whole world 
While not moving
ourselves
-unless we want to –
From our chair.

***


Diana, Goddess of the Hunt

My own view is that Diana was not originally Goddess of the Hunt, but Goddess of the hunted. Protector of those animals who were pursued by men on horseback, or with dogs, who drove them to their deaths.  That she was appropriated by ancient hunters who wished to feel absolved of evil, as they murdered, and frequently dismembered, the creatures they pursued.  I thought about this Diana as I listened to SPARE by Prince Harry, “Spike,” Duke of Sussex.  Who might now, I muse, in America, change his name to Harry Duke, which has a sturdy sound. And in fact, would match his sturdy character.

I was surprised how much I liked this book, liked this man our Meg has married.  I say “our” Meg because her ostracism by the British press has thrown her so solidly into our ranks – as people of color –it feels right to claim her. And of course there is her mother, Doria, who is so recognizable as a sister, with her dreadlocks and soulful staunchness, that we are not only happy she exists, we feel like cheering.

Harry, in this important book, is on a long, internally harrowing, voyage to a reconnection to his mother, Diana. He needs desperately to see her face again.  Seeing her body after death – which my own culture would have demanded – was forbidden. Diana, loved not only by her grieving son, but by so many of us around the globe, did die.  For some unfathomable reason, her sons were not allowed to see the truth, the awful finality of this. No wonder Prince Harry and his brother William fantasized their mother was away on Royal business or holiday and would soon return to them.

That Harry is unable to weep for years, and indeed, cannot access memories of his mother, moved me deeply.  I understand this.  If a tragedy occurs to us in childhood there is a wound that is more often than not expressed by a lack of memory. We are being protected from our emotions, though possibly wounded again by our poultice of forgetfulness.  When he is finally able to weep, he begins to remember his mother, Diana, and begins his long recovery which will doubtless take his whole life.

Fortunately he has found the best medicine for this kind of wound.  A partner who will not stand to be assaulted by the pain she had no hand in delivering,(proud of you, Meghan!) sitting meditation, love of the Natural world, and a good therapist. (And of course his children.)

I have also been stung by the tabloids of England.  Especially painful was the distorted information printed in, I believe, The Daily Mail, about my daughter, Rebecca Walker, and me. It is truly horrendous to have lies smeared all over one’s public life, and this has also happened to me for some of my political beliefs and activities, as well as for my writings, notably my novels, The Color Purple and Now Is The Time To Open Your Heart.* I mention this because even though I grew in my capacity to simply “disappear” into my private life, it is impossible to ignore completely that perfect strangers wish you ill, for nothing that you have in fact done.  After an early screening of The Color Purple movie, in the Eighties (!) a dinner guest expressed that he would like to kill me. News coverage in the black press at the time was often only a bit less blunt.

My illegal, happy, integrated marriage, as well as an early adventure in Africa (from which some of ONCE, my first poetry collection, comes) makes parts of SPARE feel wonderfully familiar and affirming as does the fact that Song of Solomon was also the Biblical poetry that bonded my former husband-to-be and me as we integrated, by ourselves, motels and restaurants that needed “clearing” for black Americans’ use in the mid-Sixties Mississippi Delta.

What are we learning? How to be truly men and women. Plus gender combinations of all sorts! Fundamentally, Grown. If we can no longer live in the cramped spaces provided by those who are tyrants but think of themselves as friends and family, we can leave.

We can be sure Harry’s mother, Diana the hunted, not once thought of her son as anybody’s “spare.” She would have agreed with Meghan: that “spare” is a word, for this loving and strong being, awakened souls would never think to apply.

Welcome to the path that is only made by walking it .~aw

Diana, Diosa de la Caza

*A review in The New York Times by  Michiko Kakutani.


Find Your Parents, and Help Them