Playing with words and emotions here. Can you see this scene in your head? I get that it is rough. It is just one short scene.
The ghostly rays were subtle as Isaiah’s uncle’s skin glistened from the slight beams crawling through the spaces of his living room window. His mind watched as a ray of light captured lines of smoke that settled on his uncle’s sinewy body. The smoke emanated a scent of burnt rope, which later possessed a body like odor. His uncle took another toke that freed his mind from the constant pain of rejection. Isaiah watched his uncle take a few pulls before noticing the letter. His senses long associated the room’s smell with despair. Was this it for us? watching his uncle stay motionless on the couch; if he were on the corner of Kennedy court and not hidden by these walls, he would be another nigger in the eyes of Isaiah’s white classmates.
We took 17 students to Governor’s Academy to hear renowned speaker Rosetta Lee discuss the importance of racial diversity, and why affinity groups further both cultural and racial understanding on our campuses. Faculty and students from other prep schools joined Brooks students in a complex discussion regarding the promotion of diversity and affinity groups. Our diverse students were excellent.
This is still very rough, but I am still mapping this out.
Isaiah Jackson, my protagonist, lives in a world in which the duality of race and class is ubiquitous. His anger towards blacks furthers his metamorphoses and sense of self as he ponders the epics of religion, and the realization that God exists in a binary fashion. His tension and disdain regarding the intersection of race, class, and religion are reflected in his emotional ambiguity. Religious imagery, social realism, and Marxist tone carry my protagonist from his urban despair and black anger to a world of whiteness and distrust. Isaiah’s epic mission is a quest. The intersection of race, class, and religion challenges his worldview and brings about new hostilities as he confronts a white God masked under the guise of privilege.
It is 3 AM and I cannot sleep. So, I am working on my writing. This week I am practicing parallel structure, dialogue, and time shifts as I further my use of Marxism in fiction. Here is a scene called Religious Duality. This is a far more complex scene, but for now, this will do. Isaiah is perplexed. Due to his black enclave, he honestly believes there are two Gods, though he struggles in his belief. This is pronounced in that this religious duality represents the racial and class dichotomy which he lives.
Isaiah Jackson entered a white church for the first time with the white man; an image of white Christ appeared as he observed nothing but white faces in the room. “Your Jesus looks like the black Jesus my mother keeps at home…” he said, as his memory traced back to never seeing Jesus’ help as his mother worked two jobs to afford their small subsidized housing unit. “Does it matter if Jesus is black or white?” said the white man. Isaiah searched carefully before saying, “no…I guess not,” though thinking white folks’ God took better care of them than black folks’ God. He heard talks about white mothers spending hours each day at this church. Not a big deal. Their big fancy homes awaited them. Funny ,with a slight grin, his mother worked all day every day just to spend her one-day off each week at that Negro church with a bunch of hypocrites, he thought.
I am convinced with practice I can use my anger towards complacent black folks, distrust of privileged whites, and social critique of religion to write something great. I am practicing as I merge the styles of Ellison, Wright, and Faulkner on paper; I aim to converge social realism and Marxism into modern fiction. I can do this. I can.
As I continue to get feedback on my fictional writing, I am asking my protagonist to deal with a world where the constructs of race, class, and religion intersect to allow complex imagery.Thanks to Janette Carson who helped me find my black protagonist. It is Arjay Smith who is centered below. I am looking at lots of images of Arjay in shaping my protagonist’s world. Here is a scene I have drafted in my notes; Arjay is the character I am seeing being behind the closed doors..
I am here with one of my heroes. I was honored to hear and spend time with her this past spring. If you do not know Ms. Nash, give this a read.