An Excerpt From Emerson Whitney’s Heaven

This excerpt was first published May 20, 2021. We're-posting it to celebrate the release of the paperback version . Natasha Marin follows-up her acclaimed Black Imagination with a brilliant new collection of sharply-rendered, breathtaking reflections from more than two dozen Black voices. I used to watch Mom on TV, would pull the videos out of the back of the cupboard while I was home sick as a teenager, they were in green VHS sleeves, in the way back. I don't know they are now and it doesn't matter because nobody has a VCR. A blonde man and woman sat forward in heavy floral chairs. They chatted, glanced at the camera from the foreground of a pastel painting of Sacramento, the woman's shoulder pads blotting out the American River. The woman turned to face the camera, she said Marie. A craft-scene backdrop slapped onto the screen. A blue wall. The camera panned to Mom behind a brown table filled with scraps of things, paper. She was perfect and '80s, had giant red glasses. She blinked at the camera, held up a cutout of my image that she'd made into a lampshade. I was adorable as a lampshade, was four or something old. In the photo Mom was holding, I wore overalls and a pink baseball cap. My hands were in my pockets. I looked a little pissed. She was saying something my dad, said Dad, flatly, and I was surprised to hear it. She showed the audience […]

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