The Walkers

More

As has been mentioned I'm working on a fiction project along with my non-fiction. Both are related to slavery and the Civil War, and both building off of much of what I've discussed here with you guys. One of the things that I think has worked here, from the perspective of long-form journalism, is opening the notebook and sharing with you guys the process. After some conversation with people who know better than me (Shout out Chris Jackson!) I've decided to open up the fiction too.


The scary thing is I'm much more confident about my nonfiction. But increasingly I've become less concerned with the pursuit of a kind of mathematical perfection, and more concerned with seeing the creative process as exploration. You have to take failure as part of the thing, as surely as the sailor must take fact of bad weather as part of his voyage. Consider these entry's a public log of my long journey.

Part of my own voyage has been trying to understand the antebellum South as a rigid society--not simply for slaves--but for everyone. Having achieved that to some extent, I'm trying to live there and imagine how individuals of varying gender and race and class might have experienced the thing. 

For now, let's part with the clunky academic language. Here is what we know: Sarah Walker is a young lady living in Virginia, somewhere in the vicinity of Albemarle County. Her family is German-American and the cream of the pre-Civil War planter class. She is also recently married. In the following selection she addresses her best friend Lillian and explains the pull of matrimony.

You can check out the first entry here.

Jump to comments

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

From This Author