When you are Toni Morrison, you don’t die, you never die. She birthed eternity with the canonical works she created. Let the world not mourn by crying their bluest eyes out for one of our most beloved – Victor Ehikhamenor
I like to think of Toni Morrison as THE WISE GOD MOTHER. Looking at her pictures, one can immediately see the wisdom oozing through her eyes and her grey locs. Lots of Tributes have been pouring in since the announcement of her death on the 5th of August at the age of 88. Writers, authors, editors, artists and luminaries have been paying in tributes and saying the most wonderful things ever.
Fran Lebowitz wrote towards the end of her tribute;
Toni was one of the closest people in my life. I would say to her, “The tragedy of your life is that you didn’t have a daughter. And the tragedy of mine is that I wasn’t your daughter”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chigozie Obioma also penned down theirs;
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie;
Reading Ms. Morrison, you knew she gloried in the joy of language, sentence by sentence, that she dared even to invent her own syntax, and as a reader you trusted her to lead you. She was a lucid thinker in her nonfiction, curious and knowledgeable and reasonable, and in her fiction she showed a compassionate and moving familiarity with the contradictions of human beings. She was Black and she didn’t apologize for her Blackness, and she didn’t pander and she didn’t temper the painful reality of Black American history, in a country that often seemed keen to minimize it. She stared pain in the face, unblinking. She wrote about what was difficult and what was necessary and in doing so she unearthed for a generation of people a kind of redemption, a kind of relief. I loved her fiction and her essays. I adored her honesty. I admired the way she occupied her space in the world. I believed her. I met her only once, briefly, back stage at an event in honor of Chinua Achebe, and I remember her queenliness, a particular presence that came from a mix of her confidence, her gorgeous silver dreads, and her quite simply being Toni Morrison. And I remember her laughter, joyous and mischievous, a sound so free of restraint, and so uninterested in being false.
Chigozie Obioma :
Toni Morrison was probably the first American author I ever read, and that book was “The Bluest Eye.” It is a devastating story about a black girl who is destroyed by the low self-esteem imposed on her by a society in which her type and color are diminished as ugly and unworthy. As a young boy in Nigeria who slowly came to the understanding that Africans and black people were perceived by the rest of the world much like the black people in the novel were, I saw the light in this grim story. It realized that if we begin to look deeper into ourselves and take pride in our heritage, we will see the true beauty of who we are. What the rest of the world says about us or how they see us will be unable to kill our spirit. Morrison herself credited Chinua Achebe for helping her discover this, what she called “the freedom to write,” but it was more a freedom to see that we can tell our own stories and by so doing, lift our people. Myself and a new generation of black writers, encouraged by the great work she has done, will continue to do just that.
I fell in love with Toni Morisson when I found Taiye Selasi. Taiye led me to Toni. I remember reading an ELLE INTERVIEW of Taiye Selasi where she talked about meeting Toni Morrison at Oxford;
“Seven years ago, at Oxford, Selasi met Toni Morrison and told her that she’d always wanted to be a writer, but that “coming from this family of overachievers,” she’d felt her creativity crushed under the pressure to excel academically. Morrison responded with a deadline, asking for a manuscript from her in one year. On schedule, Selasi gave Morrison a novella, The Sex Lives of African Girls, which Morrison advised her to expand into a novel. Selasi dutifully worked to flesh out the story, but her course changed suddenly at a yoga retreat in Sweden. “In the shower one day, all the characters of Ghana Must Go, their stories, the three-part structure—it all appeared,” she says. She raced out of the shower to transcribe what felt like “coins that had fallen from the sky.” And so the tale that began with fairy godmother Toni Morrison found its happy ending—for Selasi and for her readers.”
I am currently reading THE BLUEST EYE – her first novel – and I am glorying in the beauty of her prose. Toni’s writing IS larger than life!
We die, that may be the meaning of life. But we do language, that maybe the measure of our lives. – Toni Morisson.
Read more Moving Tributes on The Newyork Times