|Tent is set up, ready for the crowd|
At the Pecan Festival yesterday.
“It offends me,” said a young, well dressed black woman, when she discovered I had written an antebellum novel from a slave’s point of view. “How can you know what it feels like to be a slave?”
I said, “Have you ever been a slave? How do you know how it felt?”
“But my ancestors were slaves.”
I said, “What about this? Can I write a story from a man’s perspective, though I’m not a man? Or can a male author write about a woman’s life?”
“That’s a different thing. Where do you get background information? How do you know what slaves suffered?”
“I used the slave narratives, many of them available at the Library of Congress.”
“What’s the slave narratives?”
I told her about the many interviews of former slaves that were recorded in the 1930s as a Writers Project when FDR was president. Within these interviews are many poignant and heart-breaking stories.
The well dressed young woman walked away, apparently still offended.
Another black lady, who said she was born in 1938 but hardly looked her age, became engrossed in a small book about slavery that I put together using Macintosh Word and a stapler. The text came from the LOC narratives and photos from my collection from the internet.
We went through every one of the 30 pages, and I explained to her what I understood from the photographs. At the end, she said she was glad things weren’t now as they were then.
She suggested I publish and sell the book, and maybe I will. She thanked me for writing it.