Monday, June 6, 2011

Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. Dear everything. Dear God.

How much better can thoughts on writing be than the ones freshly evoked when some piece of literature stirs you?

I've been reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and it resonated deep inside me.

"Dear Nettie,
I don't write to God no more, I write to you.
What happen to God? ast Shug.
Who that? I say.
She look at me serious."

I want to convey how these passages made me feel--what they made me think, but I'm not sure I can do that quite yet.

"She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God. "

Shug and Celie are talking very seriously in this chapter--Celie's in her forties at this point and has experienced much in life. However, she still has questions and doubts. She writes to her sister Nettie, believing that Nettie's still alive out there somewhere. Shug's character develops so much through the course of this novel--if you haven't read it, you need to soon. I could probably read it through again and just focus on Shug.

"Naw, she say. God made it. Listen, God love everything you love--and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration.
You saying God vain? I ast.
Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
What it do when it pissed off? I ast.
Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back."

These quotations are all from the same chapter. In my copy, it starts on page 199. A groundbreaking epistolary novel, a testament to the human spirit, a shining example of strong women in literature--of strong African American women in literature. I didn't think I would love it this much.