I had an exhilarating time last night reading David’s book, Viktor IV, which was published by Street to Street Epic Publications.
Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair
Excerpt from Chapter 8: THE Argument
“Don’t ask ‘What is spaghetti,’ ask, ‘What is a Graduate Student?’ Here is the prophecy.”
“A Graduate Student will be a being who lives on spaghetti with ramen sauce, the kind with MSG.”
“Further, Graduate Students cannot be stopped.
“You can renovate their libraries from under them.
“You can spill coffee on their notebooks.
“You can demagnetize their disks.
“You can lay them low with mono.
“You can infest their apartments with locusts and their books with silverfish.
“A Graduate Student will be able to scrape under the collar of the peanut butter jar for the last bit of peanut butter.
Asenath and The Origin of Nappy Hair
Excerpt from Chapter 7: Angel Square
Of all the angels in heaven, Asenath, you are the most perverse, because you actually want to stay. Here we are on another bright Heavenly morning, well, you know what I mean, our light here can be so provoking — so what if we call it morning, what’s wrong with that? Yes, I know it’s afternoon, but these afternoons might as well be mornings. Always bright. Always Heavenly. And we angels hovering around in Boylston Hall to watch you and the Dean.
Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair is a comic novel that relates how the life of Shirah Shulamit Ojero, African American graduate student at the University of Penn Forest intersects with Asenath, the Egyptian daughter of a priest who married Joseph in ancient Biblical times. Shirah is an African American Jew who is unable to complete her dissertation on the ancient Egyptian Asenath because she (Shirah) keeps falling into her books and mingling with the epic heroines and heroes she is studying. The problem is solved when the epic poets, led by John Milton, sail to the future and write the dissertation for Shirah.
Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair
Excerpt from Chapter 1: Look Homeward, Angel
November 3, 2014
It is cool and deep here. I lean out from my shelf and look at you, curious. I see the big puffs of hair on both sides of your head. Can you hear me? What do you call your hair? It’s so puffy and full. Nappy? It’s the nappiest hair in the world you say? I’m glad you can hear me and answer my questions. Eleven years old and your name is Shirah Shulamit Ojero. My name is John Milton.
Excerpt from Chapter 2: Past Prologue
November 4, 2014
“What is Past is Prologue.” Carved along the top edge of the Archives Building. Well that’s Shakespeare talking right there. I read that in my father’s Shakespeare book. Shakespeare has his own library all to himself down by the Library of Congress. The Folger Shakespeare Library. I wish I could read in there. One day I’ll go way inside. Not just in the front part but way inside, beyond the velvet ropes and the picture of Ariel. Ariel means Jerusalem, but Shakespeare makes it mean an elf or a pixie type of spirit. Names get so mixed up and changed.
Excerpt from Chapter 3: Story Caught
November 5, 2014
All those people from all over the United States think that this wonderful Capitol Building here in Washington City belongs to them, and you don’t mind, they can use it. They can visit it. They can enjoy it. But they are just visitors, this is YOUR city. You like it that everybody from everywhere uses it. But it belongs to you, you, you, you — and isn’t your city beautiful, beautiful, Oh isn’t your city just BEAUTIFUL!!!
Excerpt from Chapter 4: The StorySong of BearWolf’s March to the Library
November 6, 2014
Your mother told you about Bear-Wolf when she was combing your bushy fuzzy tangled hair. And your father said, yes, my little Bear-Wolf, your hair is thick and full and strong and nappy because all the ideas inside twist and turn and rise in circles so much that your skull can’t hold them in so they poke out through your head in beautiful naps, joyful and smart. That’s why you figure things out. Become Bear-Wolf and march up the hill, march off to find your books.
Excerpt from Chapter 5: A Versity
November 7, 2014
A VERSITY FOR THE PEOPLE like I used to say it. I used to think it was talking about poetry in Washington. A Verse City, Washington City, you see, maybe there was a time when people spelled city with an ess instead of a cee, and everybody went around the city – sity – speaking verses, poetry. The word can’t be ADVERSITY with the D fallen out. Nobody would carve the word Adversity above a beautiful city like Washington . . .
Excerpt from Chapter 6
January 24, 2015
In Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair, the poet John Milton remembers meeting my character, Shirah Shulamit, “How I remember our walk, you and I, hand in hand, with lingering steps and slow, from the Carnegie Library at Seventh and K, the H Street bus, Benning Road, across the Anacostia River, Kenilworth Avenue to Mayfair Mansions and Eastland Gardens and the Garden of Converging Paths in Kenilworth and then uptown to your family’s new house in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC.