SummarySome names are erased from family bibles. Some stories are buried instead of passed down. These acts of omission, damnatio memoriae, are more tradition than their opposites. For Eve Mann, her aunt's refusal to divulge their family history feels like treason in 1972 Chicago -- a time that will be known as the end of the Great Migration of African Americans fleeing southern persecution for northern opportunities. College campuses nationwide have begun introducing black studies courses. Alex Haley is somewhere writing, researching, and potentially copying what will become the most widely read historical fiction of African American ancestry. In short, black folk are reaching back to Africa while Eve doesn't even know her own parents. Encouraged by her professor, Eve discovers information that leads her to Macon County, Georgia and a history that can rewrite her relationships with her aunt, lesbian best friend, and herself.
"everyman" follows the historical contours of the Great Migration of African Americans that fled the American south in droves for better racial and economic opportunities in the north. This mass relocation, which far exceeded that of both the California Gold Rush and the Dust Bowl migration, occurred from 1915 to 1972 and greatly changed the demographics of urban cities like Chicago. The novel begins its journey in 1972 Chicago and weaves narratives backwards to 1920's Georgia. everyman is simultaneously about one woman’s struggle to locate herself within a family, and the everyman’s journey to connect with a collective.
Note From The Author: i am everymani've read that it takes seven years for human cells to regenerate. some broadly translate that to mean that every seven years we (theoretically) are made new. metaphysically, we could call these lifetimes in seven year increments.
it's taken me seven years (off and on) to write everyman, my novel. as a lifetime, it was born from a desire...yet desire is not strong enough of a word to convey the imperative that compels writers to write, musicians to compose, and artists to create.
writing is not enough to satiate the drive. i was not pleased with the first incarnation of the novel. it was not a failing of the work, rather a failing of its creator. i simply did not possess the skill required to produce the narrative that i had envisioned. so i entered into the PhD program at UIC and so began the transformation of my work and my self.
after seven years, the result (i hope) is a writer that understands that her work engages in literary discourse and traditions...a writer that consciously crafts characters, narratives, and settings that reflect, respond, and represent themes and concepts that present themselves as "troubles of the world" (ala Mahalia Jackson).
my scholarly research informs my creative writing. my characters are indicative of their social, racial, sexual, and gendered situations. the choices that they make -- the choices that I make for them -- are in concurrence with or resistance to multiple systems of oppression that I hope to have realistically depicted over the 50 year time span that the novel covers.