Thursday, August 8, 2013

White Folks' Blood

I've been a bad blogger. While working, then traveling/working, then returning and writing, I nearly forgot I had a blog at all. (Much less two or three, but this is the only one with posts in 2012 or 2013.) And I'm working on a new book, so I'm unlikely to get back to active blogging any time soon. Good for me.

If I had the time, though, I'd write a post or an essay about how this obscure song from the late eighties, by the brilliant and all but forgotten band House of Freaks, captures something essential that I feel Rilla Askew's great new novel, Kind of Kin, is all about. First, the song: House of Freaks, "White Folks Blood." (Youtube won't let me find the video within the Blogger search function that restricts video content. Not sure how to get around it, other than to link to it and ask you to open it in another tab and let it roll. It's a great song. I promise.)

Askew's novel takes a slightly more sympathetic approach (but no less Southern Gothic, if I understand the term correctly--which I very well may not) to the subject of white people stupidly (ignorantly, even) perpetuating the crimes of our genocidal, slaveholding ancestors. Anyway, no time to elaborate on this connection and on the book's affect on me. It's a great, surprisingly entertaining, deeply moving read, and I recommend it.

I'm reading Toni Morrison's Beloved now, finally, and it's line about how "There is no bad luck in this world but whitefolks" has me thinking about all of this all over again. Synapses fire. Connections spark. Questions and memories rise up and echo. The way House of Freaks' singer, songwriter and guitarist Bryan Harvey was murdered with his wife and daughters, in their home, pierces through these thoughts and tints my reaction to all of it.

OK, I've convinced myself I ought to go write that essay. 

1 comment:

  1. As an aside, I have to say I vastly prefer the cover design for the British edition of Kind of Kin (the image above) to the American cover. Apparently the American paperback will use the same design as the British version, with an inferior font for the title.