Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Out of the Fog

I keep wondering whether or not I should delete my late night post from Saturday, June 25.  That was a really, really long day.  

I was feeling guilty about all the time I’d lost the day before with the car accident so I really pushed myself to get as much done as possible to make up for it.  I took a call from someone who went on and on about what a terrible man my grandfather was.  Then, I sat down with a woman who not only told me that Booker Wright was a terrible man, but who also told me that if people weren’t telling me the truth it was because I wasn’t asking the right questions.  Little did she know how dirty I felt from asking "the right questions".

Then, I spent 90 long minutes in a debate with someone who felt strongly that all of these perspectives needed to be included in the film.  I kept trying to explain how I felt like a fraud because I’d convinced my family to participate in a film to “honor” grandpa, and that these perspectives could be hard for my mom and my aunt to swallow.  By the time that I got back to my hotel I felt alone, exhausted, and seriously irritated. 

To compound matters, I’d been away from my kids for 10 days and, to my horror, my family did perfectly well without me.  They missed me, but dinner was served, people got where they needed to be, and they even went camping all while I was away.  This is good news, yes.  But, I’ve constructed a life for myself that is largely defined by my immediate family and our daily happenings.  It was kind of humbling to realize that they were getting along fine without me.  While I, on the other hand, I had driven my car off the road

To put it plainly, when I wrote that post I was feeling a lot of things about a lot of things.  It was easier for me to label all of those feelings as “Booker’s a bad guy” than to actually face them. 

In the days since I wrote my emotion laden post, I’ve cuddled with my 4 year-old, slept in my own bed, and felt my husband’s arms around me.  Maybe I just needed time with my own living, breathing family to help me process the stories of the dead. 

Working on this film and researching my grandfather’s life has been the treat of a lifetime.  The most amazing thing is that there is a team of really smart, hardworking people who’ve committed themselves to gathering as much data about my grandfather’s life and death as possible.  I would never, ever have been able to collect this much data in so little time on my own. 

I still think my grandfather rocks.  He cultivated a successful life for himself during a very difficult time in a hate-filled place.

And he adored his children. When we interviewed Vera and my mom, Vera described how the two of them would run down the sidewalk and they’d both jump into Booker’s arms and he would swing them around and around.  This is just one of the many faces of my grandfather.  

Today I’m officially resolved about all the differing faces of Booker Wright.  When I started this process part of me was hoping to look upon him the way that an 8 year-old girl would, with wide-eyed innocence, missing the meaning of dirty jokes and not noticing the strange brew he sold. 

I thought my search for him would heal some childhood wounds of mine.  I opened up the envelope of my girlhood heart and stood like an idiot on McLaurin Street thinking that somehow I could fill it up with what it missed out on. 

That didn’t happen and the search continues.  I was able to confirm yesterday that my grandfather also ran another club called 225 or Club 225 which sounds like a darker and seedier version of Booker’s Place.  Yesterday I mentioned this to David, the producer, fully knowing that I was offering him an invitation to go deeper down the rabbit’s hole. 

Going forward I hope to be more removed.  I need to look at Booker Wright with two different pairs of shades.  The first pair will ignore and filter all the bad stuff so that I can imagine myself running and jumping into his arms while he spins me around and around.  The second pair will sniff out every lead and will closely examine every piece of data, because that’s what a good researcher does.

If you're looking for my emotional, self-pitying post from Saturday, I deleted it.  


Post a Comment