Dear Toni Morrison

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Dear Toni Morrison,

May You Rest In Peace…

I discovered your works in high school and fell in love with the challenge of reading your works. I was mesmerized by the beauty, pain and truth in your words. You were both an inspiration and a legend that set the bar. I will miss reading your newest and latest novels. Thank you for all of your work and for sharing your gifts with us.

I saw you only once in person at a book signing for your novel, A Mercy. I was so nervous but looked forward to meeting you and telling you how much your work meant to me. How you inspired me to write my first novel and begin the Diamond La Rue series because you stated that: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I had been looking for a character like Diamond in almost every book I read on my own in college, but could not find her. When I read those words of yours, I knew that she existed only in my mind.

I was knee deep into writing my novel that day I journeyed down to the Barnes & Noble to hear you speak. But the line was so long and you had been sitting for too long that I didn’t get a chance to meet you or to get my book signed by you.

But, it was enough to hear you speak, to witness or even stand near the presence of greatness. I waited and watched until you left, just grateful to be there.

I had hoped that one day we would actually meet—face to face and talk about our love of language and literature, arts, culture, history and people. I have read that you were a great mentor to writers and so encouraging, but alas it was not meant to be.

I will miss looking out for your latest and greatest works. There will be a permanent literary void from now on, in my mind and to the world.

Rest easy…

Naj