Kathleen Collins: Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary

We did it guys! After three weeks of continuous rescheduling, we finally had our first book club meeting!

[And today is the 1st of July. Where has the time gone? Next thing you know it’ll be Christmas!]

But let me tell you…this book wasn’t a hit.

I’m always going to be honest with you because I value the time you spend with me here. This was a difficult read for me. It took almost two months of stop-and-go reading to get through this. There were pieces I enjoyed, but first let me tell you what the book club ladies thought.

In general, there was a lot of confusion about what was happening in the short stories at the beginning of the book. So much so that most of the ladies (and there were only four of us) didn’t finish the book.

The consensus was that reading the pieces in Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary reminded them too much of trauma and hardships they’d already experienced, and none of the characters seemed happy in the least.

Many people don’t like reading literature that reminds them of their lives. Instead, they want to escape from their stresses and be transported to worlds and lifestyles that are very much different from their own. It’s fair.

For me, it wasn’t so much reliving trauma, it was just that my attention wasn’t drawn in by most of the pieces.

I was into the short stories, though “Raschida” left so many questions…particularly about the farting. I couldn’t get into the novel excerpt “Lollie” at all, even after going back to read it again. The journal entries prompted a lot of questions about my own journaling habits, and one of the entries even prompted an interesting book club discussion about interracial relationships. “Remembrance” was the one play I really liked, especially this quote

“Colored people remember something from somewhere, sometime, someplace, and cry because they know it and recognize it at the same time.” (p.143)

which also prompted a good discussion with the ladies. I did like the screenplays the most out of all the pieces in the book, and I would like to watch Losing Ground at some point.

Overall this one was tough.

Our next book club meeting will be to discuss The Handmaid’s Tale. Since I’ve already read this one, I’m going to wait until the week before our meeting and borrow it from my local Library for a quick refresh.

In the meantime, I’ll be reading Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. It’s an anthology of science and speculative fiction, and it’s parallel to my favorite author, so I’m really excited to read it.

Well there it is folks, the review I’ve been promising for a month [smacks forehead emoji]. I’ll let you know how it goes with Octavia’s Brood.

Happy Reading!


To: Liam

4. Write a letter from one of your characters to another

I can’t believe how suddenly you showed up in my life. It was so easy to let my guard down. This is not a break-up letter, so don’t worry. When I was at my lowest point you came through for me. Yours was the only hand that reached down into my darkness when my best friend died and the sun went away. I never would’ve expected you to catch me so effortlessly when I was falling so hard. Especially not after a couple of dates. You are the type of man fairy tales are written about. You are beautiful and charming and smart and strong and safe. You are safe. You are safe and that scares me because I’ve never felt safe before. I grew up not knowing what safe was.  The only one I could count on was Dais and now that she’s gone….I know you are the kind of man I could really let myself love. You’ve already caught me once, so I know it’s okay to fall for you. If this were a movie I’d be expecting the worst right now. You have some wife hiding in another city, or you’re actually a serial killer, or your brother is actually your son, or you’re a rival trying to steal my business, or you’re one of my father’s cronies trying to…I don’t even know what he’d be trying to do. Honestly, any of that could actually be true because we don’t really know each other. What you’ve shown me could all be an act. Only time will tell. Even Bundy had someone he loved, you know? My intuition is usually pretty solid, which is why I’m in the business I’m in, and there are no sirens when it comes to you. I don’t see red flags or warning signs. All I see are green eyes, compassion, and strength when I look at you. You over analyze things which means you’re always prepared. Even for me, as rough as I can be. I know I’m not easy. I’ve had difficult things in my life. You are not a difficult thing. You are what makes me want to let go of difficult things. You make me see light. You make me feel more than hurt and frustration. You didn’t bring a bulldozer and try to break down my walls, you power washed them first. You hosed down all the gritty nasty stuff that I was projecting, then you started climbing that wall instead of hammering at it. Okay, that’s a really bad analogy, I know. But you get what I’m saying right? Thank you for showing me how to be cared for instead of trying to break into my heart. I think I love you. Or, at least, I’m starting to.