Sunday, September 28, 2014
ADIOS, J. CALIFORNIA COOPER
SIMPLE IS COOL—“Sunday Review” in this blog is meant to be a gentle weekly reminder that books still exist. A similar effort on a grander scale is NPR’s wonderful column simply called Book News. For those smarty pants among us that are regular reader of NPR blogs this won’t be new news but for those who are late to the dance here’s a link: http://www.npr.org/tags/170838685/book-news
One of my favorite NPR Book News columns recently was penned by Colin Dwyer, who prefaces his work “The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.” I’ll bet Colin is a smarty pants.
Dwyer reminded us of the passing of J. California Cooper, a playwright and short story writer, who won Black Playwright of the Year in 1978 for Strangers. She lived in Seattle and was 82.
Dwyer quotes a 2006 NPR interview with Cooper about the motivations behind her style. Cooper replied: “...You know, I’m not writing up—and I’m trying to write to people who don’t know. That’s why the language is simple; that’s why the stories are simple—sort of like parables—because these people who are out here struggling. This is no game out here in life. They call it a game, but this is serious. This is survival...”
Here’s a snipet of classic J. California Cooper from “The Future Has a Past: Stories: [from A Shooting Star]: “Now, you don’t know me. And, I know that you know that nobody knows everything, but a person does have to go by whatever they do know and every new thing they can learn, to make any good sense out of life. They say love makes the world go round, and I believe that. But, it seems to me nowadays sex is making the world go round.
There’s another sayin, ‘What goes round, comes round.” Well, I know that sometime what went around comes back a whole lot different and bigger and worser than what you sent around in the first place.
“You got to watch life, cause it’s moving all the time, every minute! You have to look all around yourself and see what’s happening to you and everybody else...”
As usual Amazon has most of Cooper’s works listed to buy. Most likely she has chuckled that her works cost more on Kindle than a hard copy. Life’s moving all the time, she said.