A little over three months ago Toni Morrison, one of the most celebrated and revered writers of our time passed away. Several months before her death she published a collection of essays and meditations, THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD. This book is a gift for those she left behind.
The works and speeches found within these pages were written over the course of several decades and yet, the content is strikingly relevant. It is an elegant essay on art, society, and humankind.
There are three distinct parts to THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD. “The Foreigner’s Home,” the first segment, opens with a powerful prayer dedicated to those who died on September 11. Here Ms. Morrison uses her intellect to highlight the negative aspects of the growing force of globalization. The loss of national identity, neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism and the manipulation of under-developed countries.
“Black Matter(s)” is the second piece to be found in THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD. It begins with an emotional tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and continues as Ms. Morrison outlines her belief that art, media, and even our very language is fundamentally racist. A weight always pushing down. She comments on her own works, THE BLUEST EYE, BELOVED, and JAZZ, and other works to clarify what it means to be black in America. In ways both brilliant and personal, she creates her portrait of the African-American experience.
A moving eulogy for writer James Baldwin begins the last part of the book entitled "God's Language." It is here she discusses social issues: immigration, female empowerment, the press, economics, and human rights. She looks at the inspiration behind art and culture and the role of the artist in our world. We are privy to a small, though telling, peek into her creative process and it is remarkable to see her beautiful mind at work.
Sit down and turn the pages. Feel the brilliance of Toni Morrison as she guides you through her thoughts on world history, religion, philosophy, war and the art of storytelling. We lost a great mind and a great human the day Ms. Morrison died. But she left behind so much magic.
THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD is an honor to read and you will find yourself returning to these pagers over and over.