A Simple, Powerful Sentence…

A Simple, Powerful Sentence…

On Friday, I opened a tiny manilla envelope and pulled a paperback from its unadorned, nestling spot. I’d been waiting for it without reminding myself to stalk the mailbox. It was an inexpensive gift, a healing Present to myself. I came across it as I panned free Kindle titles and then branched out to other categories of books. It’s old. Yellow leafed. Delicate. And a survivor. Like the women whose stories are captured in its thin pages. All 284 pages. I have heard of the author, a survivor, too. Charlotte Pierce-Baker, PH.D. According to the back of the book, she is a “research professor of English and women’s studies at Duke University. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.”

The book was copy written in 1998 and first published as a Norton paperback in 2000.

Googling her just now, I learned that today she is Charlotte Pierce-Baker, a professor of Women’s And Gender Studies and English at Vanderbilt University. Without knowing her personally, I am proud of her. The picture that accompanied the paragraph identifying her as the author of a new book, “This Fragile Life: A Mother’s Story of a Bipolar Son,” is attractive. There is the same wide, vibrant smile she is smiling in the picture on the rear of “Surviving the Silence.” In her face is a mixture of races, Spanish and African-American, I surmise. Reading further, I learn she is on a speaking/reading tour, and her topic is mental illness/bipolar disorder, something I recently discovered on Facebook, two nights ago, that is hugely affecting African-American women, amongst others. Something that is going silent, untrumpeted, with little to no research to give it a face in the Black community. I discovered that so often it is heralded as a white girl’s disorder amongst Blacks.

Last night, I read several pages into Dr. Pierce-Baker’s book to discover this Margaret Atwood quote:

A word after a word
after a word is power.

It is from “Spelling,” True Stories (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1981), p. 64.

I am a staunch believer in receiving what you need when you need it, via the Divine. Charlotte Pierce-Baker’s book is what I need right now. It is my guide, my holding post, my marker. From it tonight, Saturday night, which has now slipped into a wet Sunday morning, I read the “Beginnings” chapter and Part One: “Personal Narrative.” I couldn’t read the pieces fast. They were heavy, emotion soaked. So I read them slow and them rose to shift my energy, to keep it flowing.

The book’s complete title is “Surviving the Silence: black women’s stories of rape.” Toni Morrison’s endorsement is on the cover. She writes: “A book of such intelligent humanity its shocks strengthen us, and its terrors enlighten us…Demand reading.”

Although I initially intended Atwood’s quote from Charlotte Pierce-Baker’s book to be the powerful sentence in this post, I now know it isn’t. My simple, powerful sentence is, I am a rape survivor, who has decided to shatter the Culture of Silence and leave it like so many shards of glass leading to healing, peace and restoration.

Advertisements

One thought on “A Simple, Powerful Sentence…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s