Monday, February 28, 2011

Receiving, Returning, and Passing On

On the last day of February (and Black History Month 2011) I want to share one of my all time favorite quotes by African American writer Alice Walker.
photo credit
 This is the final paragraph of Walker's Acknowledgements in her collection of prose essays entitled, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens:

In my development as a human being and as a writer I have been,
it seems to me, extremely blessed, even while complaining.
Wherever I have knocked, a door has opened.
Wherever I have wandered, a path has appeared. I have been helped, supported, encouraged, and nurtured by people of all races, creeds, colors, and dreams; and I have, to the best of my ability, returned the help, support, encouragement, and nurture. This receiving, returning, or passing on has been one of the most amazing, joyous, and continuous experiences of my life" (xviii).

Isn't this a profound summation of why we read other people's work in the first place, whether it be African American prose essays, books, or blogs? Isn't this the "receiving, returning, or passing on" that Walker is referring to? We live, we cook, we laugh, we write, we encourage, we watch, and we read. I believe that this is our shared contribution to building each other, building families, sharing lives, and creating art. I feel so privileged to be part of it.  

1 comment:

  1. Great quote! You definitely "return and pass on" your gifts.


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