As I look back at Women’s History month I start to think about writing, and the lives of librarians and the literary art form. There is nothing like being a librarian, and in doing research when I was in graduate school, I discovered that many of my favorite writers were librarians too. I am still stuck on the fact that Audre Lorde was a librarian. I remember reading her book, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982) in my early twenties. She birthed a new genre of literature entitled, biomythography and helped me understand more of who I was at that time. There are a list of Black women that decided to go against the grain to not only write, but to serve as culture-keepers.
Now in the 21st century, there are more librarians that have taken the oath to give back to their communities and the world. In like manner, the numbers are startling when you look at the diversity in our field and it is rare today to find a Black librarian in an academic setting. I chose to become a librarian to survive as a writer. The art form and my Blackness in America has never been accepted by the status quo. I often wondered how I was going to make it just by writing. I remember when I prayed to GOD, and asked for direction and what was meant for me to use as a vessel and a tool to be able to maximize my talents as a writer.
I will never forget when I saw the word L I B R A R I A N flash via my computer screen. I nearly lost my mind, because I have always been this person (a literary rockstar) when I sat and thought about it. But, was it really for me was the question? I tested it out, by going to graduate school and realized that it was and is the best thing since sliced bread! I do declare that what I do today cannot be touched by any other profession.
There are other women that have had the same feat as I have with regard to finding themselves and trying to understand the paths that they needed to take in order to be great, change-agents, and still be sane in a world that has never accepted Black women as a force to be reckoned with. The irony in all of this is that women like Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Oprah Winfrey and Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt and a host of others could care less what the world thought/think about their existence – they have always owned their identity and found ways to survive to share their gifts with the world. Fast-forward, we are in the 21st century and technology has taken over the world and how we do things.
I often wonder if the world (people) take the time to read, or if it even matters anymore.??? At this point in my life, I’ve decided to write regardless if individuals take the time to appreciate what I do, because I have to and that is all that matters! It takes a real woman (Black) to go out for what she wants and to make it happen. Yes, it is different being a literary artist in the profession that I am in today, but it matters and I now understand what it means to be committed to my craft, my passion, my ish — writing in all forms that pertains to putting something down on paper.
I wrote the following poem in my first book of poetry and it’s still relevant today:
I am who I am
Can you not accept me
Why is that
Is it because of my intellect?