Tonight I read an old profile of Suzan Lori Parks by Hilton Als in the New Yorker. I hadn’t read it since the original publication, way back in 2006. (But I do have a vivid recollection of the photo spread: Parks, with serious platforms and a toothy grin, wraps one leg around Mos Def.) The profile is, as remembered, a trove of wisdom: “When she started listening, she couldn’t stop writing.” and “I often say that I’ve never written about anything I’ve experienced. Of course, that’s not true. But it doesn’t appear familiar to me at all. And maybe that’s because I have to be in a kind of coma in order to write. If it appeared familiar, I wouldn’t.” and finally, SLP on LA: “The weather’s nice, and it doesn’t snow, so you don’t have to worry about slipping. But I think what actually happens is that people grow older faster here, even though they spend so much money trying to look young, because they have to give up things that they really believe in.”
What is most profound, to me, is how SLP is both compassionate and ambitious: love and power do not sit in contradiction for Parks, but instead are strengthen by the existence of the other. Because, really what good is love without power? And what good is power with out love?
Check out the profile in full: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/10/30/061030fa_fact2?currentPage=3