National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:
I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.
image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk