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Zora Had the Courage to Follow Her Heart February 27, 2011

Posted by msbobbieg in Uncategorized.

The month of March provides us with more reflection.  Women’s History Month lets us celebrate the lives of those women that blazed trails, over-came hardships and worked hard to accomplish everything they set out to do.  We salute them and I would love to tell some of their stories starting with Ms. Zora Neale Hurston.

Zora Neale Hurston

  By: Bobbie Jones


    Noted as one of the most prolific African American female writers of the 20th century, Zora Neale Hurston was in a league of her own.  Hurston mastered the fine art of crafty story telling at a time when women, especially African American women were restricted from doing much of anything.

     Born in 1891, Hurston arrived on earth at a time when blacks were still suffering from the harsh realities of slavery and dreams of becoming a writer was something that was unheard of.  But, when it’s in your heart, it has to come out, and that’s how she felt about writing and life itself, she let her heart lead the way.

     I wish I could say that I had known of Hurston at the beginning of my writing career but I did not – I only discovered her after I found myself married to Hurston’s great nephew, yes, I said married.  I was in my mid twenties when I married Mr. Ben Hurston and to him being related to such a fascinating character as Ms. Hurston, was no big deal – I would soon learn why.

     As Hurston went on in life to defy the odds by traveling and writing great volumes of work, she had her NaySayers.  I remember reading in one of her biographies that even members of her own family called her crazy.  That’s a title you will never find, when it comes to her work. However, you will find titles such as “There eyes were watching God” published in 1937 and “Dust Tracks on a Road” (1942) which are just two of my favorite works done by Hurston and forever linked to her legendary name.

     Hurston’s ability to tell a story and place the reader right there is a gift not many writers have, but she did this by writing about what she loved.  Her hometown of Eatonville, Florida was always prime for the emergence of a great story and what better story to tell than your own.  Her mix of just the facts with a touch of fiction and a bit of folklore and a lot of mystery was the makings of the classic work you will find on the bookshelves today.

     I can tell you without shame or pretence that I experienced the Hurston family lack of enthusiasm for the creative mind in my own life.  I was once told that “No one will ever publish anything you write, so you might as well give it up.” Well, for those of you who are reading this – I guess it goes to show that sometimes the opinions of others really doesn’t carry that much weight.

     It truly is all about what’s inside and what has to come out.  Zora Neale Hurston made that oh, so wonderfully clear to everyone, not just African Americans.  She let her life be a living testament, and it said – whatever you want, you go after it, and that’s what she did.

     So, from one writer to another, and for all the writers out there I just want to say thank you Ms. Hurston for giving us the courage to be – just as crazy as we want to be.

All Rights Reserved

Join me next time when “Giving it to ya” will feature Christiane Amanpour



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