Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Birthday today: Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was born on Jan. 7, 1891, and is best known for her 1937 novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

Here are the first three paragraphs of that novel:

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of Men.

“Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.

“So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. Not the sick of friends and ailing with the pillow and the feet. She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead; their eyes flung wide open in judgment.”

These words, this matter-of-fact reportage of the heart has echoed down the years. It is the very template of the dreams of people who have no chance.

Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960.