2011 is the year of Zora

Zora Neale Hurston Photographer: Carl Van Vech...
Zora in 1934 at "33" (real age 42)

“I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death.”
— Zora Neale Hurston (Dust Tracks on a Road)

I have learned so much about this brilliant, adventurous, resilient woman in the last two weeks.

I started my mini-tribute mainly to inform people about her. So many still have never heard of her. I wasn’t interested in retelling her biography. Others have done a much better job than I ever possibly could. Even the mildly curious can find all the references about her on the Internet (or an actual library) they need.  I just wanted to share my appreciation of her talent. I posted a quote every day on my Facebook page, and I was very gratified by my friends’ reactions to the humor, wisdom, sauciness and elegance of her writings. That inspired me to blog about her.

To say that she is my favorite writer doesn’t capture what Zora means to me. As  much as I am in awe of her abilities and accomplishments, my sense of connectedness to her goes deeper than that. Sounds weird, but I know that I would have liked her.

Zora was “regular,” like your favorite aunt or your best friend. Had I known her, I could see myself just kickin’ it with her — just sitting on her houseboat drinking liquor (moonshine?), smoking cigarettes, fanning way mosquitos and telling stories.

2011 is the year of Zora. I’m going to spend the year getting  reacquainted with her. Today, I reserved the PBS documentary of her life, “Jumpin’ at the Sun” through my library branch. My copy of her biography, Wrapped in Rainbows, should be here this week. Then I have to pick up Every Tongue Must Confess, her last book published posthumously. Oh, I plan to go to the Zora! Festival next year. Florida in January is always a good idea. That should keep me pretty busy.


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