Thursday, November 30, 2006

writers matter

writers matter.

i have a bit of a fascination with writers and the writing process, because every person is a communicator, but writers are somehow inspired to do it artfully, conscientiously, entertainingly.

that's why i'm especially sad to hear about the passing of bebe moore campbell. i first read some of her novels about a decade ago, when my mom was tearing through every book by a contemporary black author that she could find and then leaving the finished books around various shelves and tables in the house. to date, the book that really grabbed my attention was her award-winning your blues ain't like mine. i have a well-worn paperback that i've been through at least two or three times. it isn't often that contemporary black writers bother to include white people as major, fleshed-out characters in their books, while declining to stereotype them into a box of insignificance - it speaks to the human condition on a broader level than concentrating on just one ethnic group. it made her stand out to me.

i have yet to read some of her more recent offerings, most notably, 72 hour hold, which deals with a special concern of hers, mental illness. i love how ms. campbell used her position as a writer with an established audience to shine a light on an important issue that people don't talk about nearly as much as they should, especially among Blacks. it's projects like these that make it clear why and how even (and especially) contemporary writers can matter beyond the bookshelf. i can't wait to read it.

i must take a moment to acknowledge that i am a fan, that i appreciated bebe moore campbell's work and her creativity, and to lament that she will be missed. i wish her family and friends the presence of the Comforter while they reflect on her life and mourn her death, and i hope that fans, present and future, will gain entertainment and enrichment from her work.