"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."
-Toni Morrison, “The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993”
Toni Morrison is one of the best examples of those who, in her own words, “do” language -- create it, play with it, enrich it, and further its evolution. Language is a complex system of expression, signification, destruction, and creation. It is performative, symbolic, and all-encompassing. The idea of “doing” language speaks to the need to throw oneself fully into this linguistic labyrinth, poke around, and play. I once heard Morrison deliver a lecture on the “invisible ink” that connects writers to readers who are particularly receptive to their work. This unseen language draws the reader into the story and involves them in its intricacies on a more intimate level. I have always loved her books and her particularly rich way of writing. To celebrate Morrison's receiving this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom, check out our featured podcast from Morrison's talk on her 2008 novel, A Mercy; buy tickets for her forthcoming talk on May 18 at Parkway Central in support of her new book, Home; or check out one of her fantastic books at the Free Library branch nearest to you!