On a quick trip to NY to visit my daughter.  Having my usual New York angst, too noisy and crowded for me. Even inside a Starbucks it’s too noisy to use a cell phone, but I’m staying in an apartment in Harlem, which is a cool place to be and to walk around.  In the Schomberg Center there’s a small exhibit on Maya Angelou, including some letters. James Baldwin and Maya Angelou were impressive writers, even in letters to each other.  Here’s an excerpt out of a letter Maya Angelou wrote to Julian Mayfield:

“I’ve heard some of the funniest jokes and can’t wait to get back home and share them with you over a bottle of some thing [sic] good and strong. I won’t write them to you, not only because with you and me we need the facial expressions, the descriptive hands, and the raucous laughter to put over a joke, but also because I vaguely believe there’s a law against sending the kind of filthy jokes I’ve collected through the mails…  Can’t you see the theses of historians years from now…. [ellipsis hers] ‘While leaders were being assassinated, while Africa was in turmoil, while the young red guards were guarding and the [illegible] were having their heads broken, Mayfield and Maya were serving 18 months for pornography.’  No, they’ll (the jokes) will just have to wait.”

 

Advertisements