Toni Morrison received the Carl Sandburg Award, last evening, from The Chicago Public Library.
It was a magnificent evening at The University of Illinois Forum. Oprah Winfrey interviewed Ms. Morrison on stage after she was awarded.
Ms. Morrison is so rich. Her presence and her words make you stop and listen. She talked about writing and what it means to her. She said “writing is being at the marrrow.” She develops her characters and she knows them well. She bears witness to the characters she creates without judging. She becomes the manager of the character. She talked in the language of a real writer. “Don’t write through a block. Wait for the right word.”
She talked about not be critical of a child. She asked, “Do your eyes light up when he or she enters the room?” She said her first novel, Bluest Eye, received 12 rejections from publishers. She started writing at 39 years old. She said I wrote the book, so I could read it.
She talked about love. ” The thing about love is you don’t get anything for it.” Children are pure love. She spoke of life of the mind.
She said, finally, “If I were in the world without books, I would just have to write them.”
She speaks so beautifully. I regretted the interview being over.