A picture’s worth a thousand words…at least…

Cover of Imaginary Family Project book

In 2011 I participated in Quentin Bomgardner’s Imaginary Family Project. Quentin sent me a selection of vintage family photos and I used one as the inspiration for a story. I was quite excited last week when a bound collection of the stories from the project showed up in mailbox. I look forward to getting to know the other 51 imaginary families.

Here’s the photo I wrote about and an excerpt from my piece:

A black woman sits on an black man's lap

My mama Frankie Jean was a church girl. She sang in the choir, but what did Jesus know about being 18? About the pride welding up in her like sap because of shapely ankles and flaring hips and an abundant behind? Her first night down on Freeman, Frankie Jean had looked at my daddy—12 years her senior—and thought, “With him I won’t have to be a white lady’s girl forever.”

“Daffodil,” he’d tell her, squeezing her waist in a dark corner of the bar, “In Paris—you can’t believe how many lights there are in Paris. And nighttime is as bright as day, and pretty as diamonds. You can just sit at a table right on the sidewalk and watch people go by. In the middle of the day, you’re just sitting there doing nothing but drinking coffee and the white folks don’t care.”

My mother wasn’t lazy, but she was old enough to understand about the work of women. That it was a heavy sack you tied on soon as you were grown enough. A heavy old sack that no one ever offered to carry for you. She wanted to set it down for a moment, find out what coffee tasted like or how it felt to take a walk by the river if there wasn’t anyone waiting for you.

You can read the rest here.

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Posted on May 7, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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