The Souls of black folks in America are deep and complex. Many of the talented ones burn with intensity, and with luck, mellow down into a pure and beautiful glow. Often it’s not until the trials and tribulations of life buffet them that they are buffed to a high gleam. At this point their multifaceted beauty is revealed and their talents shine through.
That’s if they don’t destroy themselves in the process. ~ ARO
My people, I have just had the pleasure of reading the new novel, “Like Litter In the Wind”! L. M. Ross – author, poet extraordinaire, jazz connoisseur and black history enthusiast, has delivered to us a very well crafted and epic work of art. It’s more than a mere novel. It’s the best story I’ve read in many years. It is a careful study of the souls of gifted, but pain filled black folks. The decisions they make and the directions they take. And the consequences of their choices. The author is studying the pain and beauty of these souls from numerous angles, as though looking at the facets of a jewel.
Like Litter In The Wind is the story of The Family Swinton. Personally, I believe this family was chosen by the ancestors to be a conduit of the spirit of our black beauty. Yes, the Swintons were chosen by the ancients of long ago to speak to us through their art. To remind us in this time, who we are.
The ancestors choose the strong ones to bring us art and music. Sadly, these strong ones are fragile as well, but are still chosen. And through them that ancestral spirit down in the soul rises up and speaks in the frenzied activity of artists’ paint brushes or in the blaring notes of bluesy horns in the night. The Swintons were chosen.
The Family Swinton. Patriarch Gig. Matriarch Dakota. I’m sure that I know these people. The way they live their lives touched me. It was in the harsh way they spoke to each other. It was in the way their extended family members interacted amongst themselves. It was in the family secrets they hid and the shame they felt. It was in the denial and the sadness. All of those emotions reminded me of some stuff I’ve seen before. It was in the fierce way they displayed their love to each other. I was saddened, yet I was also heartened by their sheer determination to be a family the best way they knew how. I was also angered by the Swintons, and reminded of some stuff that I’ve seen before. I swear I have known these people before.
Like Litter In The Wind very thoroughly delves into the deepest recesses of hearts and minds of passionate black folks. Our brother Lin’s artistry shines through in how meticulously he created his protagonists, Gig and Dakota, and all their family, friends and foes. He deftly weaves together their story with the historical backdrop of our blackness – from our writers, painters, musicians, actors and singers, to the important milestone events of our black America. From bebop to jazz, from Motown to Memphis, from Soul to Rhythm and Blues. It’s all a part of the canvas that is the Swinton’s lives. Like an alchemist, L.M. Ross puts flesh on sinew on bone and breathes life into these people with his pen. The naked power of their story will grab a hold of you and not let go! You will swear to God that you know these Swintons!
Gig and Dakota and the entire Swinton extended family are so vitally human! They display a wide range of emotions fully and honestly, never holding back. It’s that energy that the artistic are blessed and cursed with. Gig and Dakota, two highly creative souls whose spirits are too big for the earthly space they inhabit but who struggle to shine in this earthly realm anyway!
My people, Like Litter In The Wind is a magnificent read. It’s deep, probing, sweeping and it’s not for the faint at heart. But if you know how to appreciate the finer things in life and have eyes to see and ears to hear what the spirits are saying, you will get this book! And it will sweep you in and most assuredly, it will not disappoint!
Bravo, Brother Lin! Bravissimo!!