Listen, you are belong to a people so beautiful.

Langston Hughes, the poet wrote about how the night is beautiful, like the faces of your people, the stars are beautiful, like the eyes of your people. Beautiful also is the sun, beautiful also, the souls of your people. You belong to a people so beautiful.

Listen, you belong to a people who had a home, a place, a land.

Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson wrote about their story, their origin, one that did not begin with whips and chain, or that dreadful voyage that took them from their home, their place , their land

Listen, your future is greater than your past.

Ben Okri once wrote about how we need to see the world differently, to see ourselves clearly. Only free people can make a free world. So infect the world with your light. Help fulfill the golden prophecies, press forward the human genius, for your future is greater than your past.

Listen, you are like dreams that hang in the air, touching everything.

The poet Lucille Clifton noted like smoke, these dreams get all in your clothes, as you wear them more than you do, trying to wave them away, but their smell is all over you, getting in your eyes, making you cry, even even the fire is gone, these dreams that hang in the air, touching everything.

Listen you are beyond the small stuff too small to see.

The artist Chris Robinson once wrote that even if somethings swim with the tide and somethings don’t, even if something are out of reach, or you feel lost and alone, you matter, beyond the small stuff too small to see.

Listen you are like the year you learned to fly.

The writer Jacqueline Robinson once wrote about how a brother and a sister used their beautiful and brilliant minds. They lifted their arms, closed their eyes, took a deep breath, and believed in a thing the year they learned to fly.

Listen you are a light for the world to see.

Kwame Alexander wrote words for the undefeated, those unforgettable, those unafraid who carried the red, white and weary blues and shined their light for the world to see.

Listen you are more than this skin you are in.

This skin you are in, is just a covering bell hooks once shared. It cannot tell your story. They can find all about you, coming close and letting go, of what they think you are. For you are more than the skin you are in.

Listen you are more than the only black kid in the class.

You are the manifestations of several lifetime of toil, said Clint Smith, the poet. You are deemed the expert on all things Morrison, King, Malcom, and Rosa. You are everyone’s best friend until you are not, a star before they render you asteroid, before they watch you turn to dust, you the only black kid in the class.

Listen you are carrying nothing but the world.

Even Amanda Gorman the poet noted that you are enough. There is joy in discarding almost everything. Though what you have left behind will not free you, but what you have left is all you need, is enough when you are armed only with your hands, open, walking into tomorrow, carrying nothing but the world.

Listen you are called to bear witness.

Cornel West once shared about how he was prepared to bear witness to the height of his capacity, to the best of radical traditions that produced him, to help people think and feel differently over and over again, as long as we work to bear witness.

Listen you are more than you name.

You are like Toni Cade Bambara, with a name you earned and worked hard for. A name that tells the story of you, whether forever constructing yourself, forever inventing yourself, you are more than your name.

Listen, you are like jasmines, perfect of perfume.

Claude McKay, the poet wrote that your scent is in the room. Swiftly, it overwhelms, and conquers. Jasmines, night jasmines, like you, are perfect of perfume.

Listen, you must transform your silence into language and action.

Audre Lorde, the poet and feminist shared how we can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. The weight will choke us unless we transform silence into language and action.

Listen you must accept them with love.

There is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The terrible thing is that you must accept them, noted James Baldwin, the writer. You must accept them and accept them with love.

Listen, you are like an invisible ink

To Toni Morrison, an invisible ink is what lies under, between, outside the lines, hidden, until the right reader discovers it. The reader, open to your invisible ink.

I love Toni Morrison. One of my greatest regrets for my life is that we never met. We never had a face to face chat about her brilliant, most sterling mind. We die, that may be the meaning of life, she once eloquently said, but we do language, that may be the measure of our lives, is probably the most poignant thing I have read. It is also my life’s quote. No one personifies this quote better than Ms. Morrison and boy did she do language during her life on earth.

For the past year since her death, I have been devouring any and everything Ms. Morrison has every written. Not her fictional literature that many of us love, whether it’s Beloved or Sula or the first book of hers I ever read, The Bluest eyes. No, her fiction was sterling, awe inspiring and downright brilliant. No, I haven’t been reading her fictional books. I have instead been reading everything non- fictional that this brilliant woman ever wrote. She wrote so many and my go to bible now, her last, ‘The source of self-regard’ is quite simply divine.

But the latest in my possession, a very short acceptance speech she delivered in 1996, on the acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, is by far one of the most brilliant essays I have ever read. This particular essay is a masterclass on brevity as well as the passion, pleasures, difficulties and necessities of the reading/writing life. It is the inspiration for this blog.

Toni Morrison’s The Dancing Mind.

In the essay, Ms Morrison speaks about peace, not just peace as a result of war, but the peace that comes with engaging with other’s mind when reading/writing. She described this as the dancing of the mind and asked all of us to become vigilant about preserving this peace from the peril it faces.

The real life work of creating and producing and distributing knowledge…the ability for the entitled as well as the dispossessed to experience one’s own mind dancing with another, in essence the real life work of the book world is a serious feat that warrants vigilance.’

When writing and writers manage to touch another’s mind through reading, the intimate, sustained surrender that is felt, without fear or interference, this dance of an open mind, fosters a particular kind of peace that requires vigilance. Securing that peace, the peace of a dancing mind, is our work. ‘There isn’t anybody else’ said Ms Morrison and I totally agree. She may be gone, but her words, are my source of inspiration. I hope to use this blog to help you experience your own mind dancing with my own. Securing this peace, the peace of the dancing mind, is now my life’s work. Rest In Peace Ms. Morrison. The dance continues…