Was I 14 or 15 years old when my friend Elizabeth Anderson took that picture of me, hiding in straightened hair, sunglasses and a laugh covered by my two large hands for the "Seen and Heard" youth poetry competition sponsored by Charis Books and More and the Atlanta Journal Constitution?
It was such a big deal to me to have my words on a wall and in the newspaper. And that was how I met you Linda. That was how I learned about the High School Women's Writing Group at Charis. That is what led to many after-school and weekend afternoons, writing and talking about writing, and talking about things that I might otherwise have been afraid to write about. It was a space where I could be myself and explore how to describe myself in the transformation of growing. It was a space you dedicated your life to creating and nurturing. It was a space where you introduced me to other Black feminist geniuses like Pearl Cleage, Doria Roberts, Shay Youngblood, Fiona Zedde.
Which means now for 15 years you have been there, as an example, as an adviser, as a fairy godmother reminding me to stay grounded as everything changes. Affirming my choices even as they defy convention. Showing me by your life and reminding me in your words that it will all work out as long as I am present to magic, as long as live as true as I can and listen to my heart and when I can, write down what it is saying.
I learned over and over again that well-behaved women and well-behaved bookstores rarely make history. Thank you for lovingly tending that rare bravery that makes everything possible!
I love you Linda!!!!