The Great Dorothy West

The Wedding by Dorothy West has long been a favorite of mine in large part because I love the east coast, including Martha’s Vineyard. This book brings to life the hierarchy we create within a race– by income, color, and upbringing. The very thing that should make us more solid can tear us apart. But then love in its precarious preciousness is blind and enduring. Even when picking this book up to photograph the cover I couldn’t help but leaf through to favorite passages and I doubt this one will leave my bookshelf as I continue to clean out and “simplify”.

For the first time in her life, Shelby saw this community as a whole. She did not want one fact to change, one bird to fly away. She existed because they existed. Nothing was the same unless everything was the same; the interrupeted heart never resumed its rhythm.”

Following up, I read The Last Leaf in Harlem. This collection of short pieces by West was published after her death. She continued to poke at our notions of fulfillment, relationships, poverty, and failure. Many left me feeling sad but not “Summer Setting”. I hope to find my Clay someday who loves and wants me with all of life’s jiggly thighs, upheavals, and expected blessings in disguise.