From «The Bluest Eye» to «Home»
Chapter Eleven: Frank Money, Cee, and the Maternal in Home
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“You have to be interrupted. There was never a place I worked, or a time I worked, that my children did not interrupt me, no matter how trivial—because it was never trivial to them. The writing could never take precedence over them. Which is why I had to write under duress, and in a state of siege and with a lot of compulsion. I couldn’t count on any sustained period of free time to write. I couldn’t write the way writers write, I had to write the way a woman with children writes. That means that you have to have immense powers of concentration. I would never tell a child, ‘Leave me alone, I’m writing.’ That doesn’t mean anything to a child. What they deserve and need, in-house, is a mother. They do not need and cannot use a writer.” (Con I, 238).
Throughout Morrison’s innumerable interviews, many of them collected in two hefty volumes as “Conversations,” the author comments about her identity as mother. That she raised her two sons as a single parent, and that she has been mindful throughout her life of their needs, contributes to this self-identification. In her writing of Home, her 2012 novel, those needs were even more pressing: Slade, the son to whom the book is dedicated, the son she called a “brilliant writer” and with whom she wrote many children’s books, had contracted pancreatic cancer. He died in mid-December, 2010.1
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