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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why Ain't I?

     For my very first post I'd like to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?

          Ain't I A Woman?

by Sojourner Truth
Delivered in 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out

of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the

women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in

a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and

lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps

me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And

ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted,

and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman?

I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it -

and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen

children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried

out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it?

[member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that

got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold

but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have

my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights

as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from?

Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing

to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world

upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it

back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it,

the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing

more to say.


  1. Very powerful. I have been in transformative mood, myself lately. I want to get back to writing. It may be the only thing that saves me. And I have left my pen quiet for too long. may I join you? Ain't I a writer too?

  2. Oh yes, please do! That would be such a wonderful start for me if it inspired you to take up your pen too.

  3. Old Sojourner Truth had quite a lot to say, now didn't she. It was good to read her speech. Thanks.

  4. Tammi, I love this poem. I love the last lines, "Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Soujourner ain't got nothing more to say."
    You did it,Tammi! The blog is beautiful, too.


  5. Well said in any century! You could not pick a better role model.

    We are making progress.

    Chuck Grosky

  6. It’s all about being simple.
    And honest.
    And that all sounds so easy when you hear it. Don’t bother going to Barnes and Noble and buying all those “How to Write” books. It’s all there in you. Waiting to fly from your fingertips like so many sparks. You just have to get real quiet and listen. And then be brave enough to just tell it like it is.
    Because it all boils down to this. Write what your heart notices. Don’t glam it up. Find that little glimmer of humanity- that we all share- and then shine a light on it, say it in a way as spare as you can; say it in a way that makes people gasp and want to read it again; say it in a way that makes them want to memorize what you said.

  7. Rescue me
    It’s hard to be in me, right now. I can feel myself falling. I keep having dreams about being in an elevator and it’s falling fast and I am telling myself it’ll be okay. I push the red button, the one with the fireman’s hat next to it. Someone will save me. But I keep falling and my hair is rising off my shoulders in the downdraft and I brace for impact. Rescue me. I never hit bottom. I wake up and then all I want to do is roll over and go back to sleep. And I do. A lot. And the mail piles up, the newspapers lie in their plastic wrap under the snow at my door. Headlines blare, but I am not listening.
    There’s dishes in the sink and dust in the corners and I look at it all and start to fret and will myself to get out the damn broom. Or go back to bed.

  8. I am just this blog supposed to let me ruminate or just respond to your lovely ruminations...?

  9. Oh yes, do ruminate, it's perfect!

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