I’m going to tell you a story. And it’s going to sound fantastical to you, something out of a storybook. But it’s the truth. I promise you it’s the God’s honest truth. And when I’m finished telling you this story, you may do one of three things. You may disregard me as completely insane. You may say I have the world’s largest imagination and I was only dreaming. Or you may choose to believe me. Whatever happens after I finish telling you this story, it will be up to you how it concludes…
Welcome to Bloganuary Day 8 and the first Sunday Morning Tea post of the new year (although it is now Sunday afternoon and I am currently drinking coffee…)
For the uninitiated, Sunday Morning Tea is my virtual writing salon, where we talk about our writing goals and projects while sipping on a hot cuppa tea…or coffee!
The quote above comes from a rough draft of a novel I hope to finish writing one day. It’s a story about a runaway slave who is transported in time to present day and discovers a new world of freedom, of hope, of a dream fulfilled 160 years in the future. In my mind, I actually picture it as a film, but as I am not a screenwriter, I’ll focus on writing the novel first. 😉
Longtime followers of the blog know that I can easily get distracted with new story ideas, bouncing from one book-length project to another and never finishing any of them. I’ve already committed 2023 to completing the first draft of Love Poetry. 2024 might be Lost Boy. There’s also the forgotten Oreo Cookies project, which has been living in limbo for almost as long as Love Poetry. So it might be a few years before this next novel idea, inspired by a Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon story from 2021, sees the light of day.
But today’s Bloganuary prompt, “How far back in your family tree can you go?” reminds me why I wanted to tell this story.
Because I am a descendant of slaves, my family tree unfortunately has some branches missing. I’m grateful that I have family members (both on my mom’s side and my dad’s side) who’ve done the genealogical work to trace our family lineage back a couple centuries. Because of their intense research, I have names, and I periodically search records on Ancestry.com and try to build a family tree for my personal records based on what I find.
Unfortunately, all the names and records stop when you hit a certain date, like hitting a brick wall: 1870, the first census after the Civil War and after the abolishment of chattel slavery. From there, I can subtract the years to guess when my great-great-great grandparents were born. I can assume that by their race listed on the census (“M” for mulatto) they were the products of entitled White men who wanted to own their female slaves in more ways than just as property.
Without saying the “R” word, a woman cannot give consent if she has no autonomy—if she is owned by someone else as property. Period!
It’s tough thinking about these types of things. At times, I even get emotional, which makes it all the more insulting that we have leaders in our government who want to deny slavery ever happened and prevent it from being taught in schools.
If we don’t teach our history, we are doomed to repeat it. And the fact that we haven’t had a Speaker of the House election this chaotic since the Civil War tells you all you need to know about why education matters.
But I digress…because I promised I wouldn’t get into politics on these posts.
So I will end my ramblings by saying that I am inspired once again to write this story. Coincidentally, the Twilight Zone episode that inspired the initial story was on TV this morning, and as I watched, I started to think about a potential plot. As I said in this post, I already know how it will begin and how it will end. Deciding what will happen in the middle to get our characters from point A to point B will be the next challenge. It’s slowly becoming clearer though. The central theme will be family. Reconnecting with one’s family, one’s heritage, one’s roots, which were stolen, and finding freedom.
4 thoughts on “Bloganuary Day 8”
One of my aunts did this as well. It makes me sad and angers me.
Good luck on your project (s), Nortina!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yeah, I have to pace myself when I’m doing the research because it’s so easy to get upset by all of it
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love this, but saddens me also as it so much like the missing branches in my tree
LikeLiked by 2 people
Yeah, it’s a hard pill to swallow. So much history we may never know