Our lives are paved with words. We talk and we talk and we talk. Then we die, and our words are forgotten along with us. But what if those words are enshrined in beauty? What if we’re Toni Morrison?
When Ms. Morrison, author of “Beloved” and so many other imperishable novels, died last week, her pen was stilled, but her voice carries on. It’s a voice that cares about language, a voice that embraces difficult ideas and never shies away from humanity’s harsh realities, especially those of black people. It’s a voice I value more than ever. At its most noble, it sings to me in hymns, dirges, full choruses and a lonely guitar strummed on a sagging wooden porch somewhere in the woods. It’s a voice that possesses the grandeur of a cathedral.
I’m feeling a little lonely right now, but mostly I’m experiencing a tug at my heart that urges me to try harder and do better. Ms. Morrison’s elegant prose provides me with the sensation of what it must feel like to fly.