San Antonio, Texas
Writing of Witness with Elizabeth Rosner
WORDS OF WITNESS FELLOW in LITERARY NON-FICTION
I am playing around with title ideas for the book of personal narratives I am working to complete. Some of the possibilities might tell you a lot about me. They include, Prodigal Blues, The Assimilated Man, and Narrative of a Man in Contradiction. Most are informed by the differences in my native and professional lives and how they helped lead to my present situation. Grew up on Chicago’s tough West Side. Could have been included as a minor character in Judas and the Black Messiah. Also spent time as a ghetto street hustler. Developed into a community poet, but it resulted in assimilation into the world of higher education and life as a token person of color at several colleges and universities, culminating with a lengthy stint as a Black Yankee in a Tea Party-dominated region of the deep South. While teaching Twelve Years a Slave one day—within a half-hour drive from where most of that story takes place—I decided to do what authors of slave narratives always do, and that’s escape. But after leaving behind both the profession and the region of the former Confederacy where I lived in what was then called a post-race society, I found the lines dividing North and South in the US are no longer geographical, something that has become apparent to many of us during the last five years. I now write from the perspective of what I think of as American mockingbird time dividing North and South in the US are no longer geographical, something that has become apparent to many of us during the last five years.