Speculating is something I know about.

From my favorite iPad magazine app, Zite, I frequently read articles from io9.com.  They are a site “that covers science, science fiction and the future” basically the types of things that interest me.  I came upon an article,

http://io9.com/5947122/the-black-fantastic-highlights-of-pre+world-war-ii-african-and-african+american-speculative-fiction

that spoke directly to the fiction writer in me.  Early in the article the author, Jess Nevins uses the word exhaustiveness. It is a word that makes me weary just reading it, but it also speaks to what I’ve known for most of my adult life.  I cannot give a full accounting of my past. There’s no documentation telling me how far back my lineage goes. I suspect there are some black women born in the U.S. that can trace things pretty far back.  I’m just not one of them.  My mother and father had no recollection (I asked.) of previous generations who were enslaved, though there surely must have been.  After all I am a black woman born in the U.S. to black parents born in the U.S.  Someone in my family was enslaved.

I can look back through that megaphone-shaped memory and check the shadows for bits and pieces of connectivity, but the far end will still be much more narrow then the edge nearest me because as I said, I am a black woman born to black parents in the U.S.
Jess Nevins writes about the Speculative Fiction genre as it existed prior to WWII. (Thanks Jess Nevins for doing this.) These works speak to the lives of those who came before. I hope one day to stumble upon some of the work.  I think I have some Frances E.W. Harper within a Norton’s collection of women’s literature.  I may have to dust off my copy and see.

For as long as I can remember the world of science and fiction has fascinated me.  So much so I began making up worlds in the bathroom of my grammar school. While other kids looked up at the sky and saw shapes in the clouds I was in the bathroom shaping stories from the paint drippings on the huge windows.

St. Cecilia’s, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, U.S.

I told stories to anyone who would listen.  So when I wonder about why I can make up a world easier than exist in the one to which I was born, I know the answer is simple. I don’t have the details.  My past is more of a mystery.

My sister works hard to pull the details together, find the connections.  Though she may never get all of the details, she is steadily scraping the walls of memory and piecing them together like the jigsaw puzzle it is.  I applaud her persistence.
While she’s doing that I’ll continue to make it up as I go.
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One thought on “Speculating is something I know about.

  1. This right here is poetry, “I told stories to anyone who would listen. So when I wonder about why I can make up a world easier than exist in the one to which I was born, I know the answer is simple. I don’t have the details. My past is more of a mystery.”
    It’s not so much how you say or write it, it is what you’re saying and I suppose partially how I or someone hears it.

    This was a great piece, Ma! It was necessary.

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