|As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.
Here’s the next story.
“How It Started”
Irette Y. Patterson
The introduction to this story says “How It Started” captures that breathless moment between an attraction and a relationship. I can’t argue that at all. In that vein, it’s a satisfying piece, but also—like most stories of this slant—one that leaves me wanting more. That’s a good thing.
What I’m struggling over now, however, is that “How It Started” is about a lot more than the breathless moment between attraction and a relationship. I’m struggling because I feel unqualified to lay out the case for that statement—because this “breathless moment” is a lifetime coming, and that since the story is so firmly and so believably placed in the point of view of a middle-aged Black woman (and since I am a white male getting along in years) it makes me flinch at times. That’s an amazing thing about good fiction, right? Sometimes it carries truth in doses that are more devastating that anything non-fiction can manage.
You can read the story for simply the matter at hand—two people coming together. I find myself liking Miss Kenyatta, our narrator, a considerable lot. I like the frame she conveys her experiences from. She’s an older woman, but kind at her worn down heart. She’s matter-of-fact. Cuts straight to the chase. But after a life of experience she comes to her commentary with the direct tow of a high tide rather than any kind of aggressive punch. You cannot doubt her.
I like the other side of the relationship, too. Ben feels like a stand-up guy. By the time the story is finished I’m feeling hope for them.
But you can read the story for that current that lies under the plotline, too, and it’s this side of it that’s makes this piece important for me. With “How It Started,” Irette Y. Patterson makes it easy and interesting and even pleasant (if that term can apply her) to put myself into someone else’s point of view—which is always the first step in learning something new—hence put a mirror to my own face. It’s hard to like the fact that Miss Kenyatta has a lot to teach the world, but I’m happy she’s here to do it.
So, yeah, I’d like to ride along farther. But if this is the end of the line, it was more than a pretty good trip and easily worth the fare.