Yes, esteemed author and activist Darnell Moore is CASSIUS family, but we’d still recommend his gripping debut memoir even if that weren’t the case. No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America is Moore’s magnum opus, and on Tuesday (May 29), he sat down with Saeed Jones of Buzzfeed‘s AM2DM to discuss how the story dream hampton called “a journey well spent” came to be.
Here, a few takeaways, which double as pertinent reasons to add the book to your Amazon cart the second you finish this article.
No Ashes is a Metaphor for All of Black Life.
As Jones notes during the interview, the title of Moore’s memoir is a reference to a life-altering moment during which a group of boys tried to set him on fire.
“In so many ways, I wanted to think about the humanity of these young people,” Moore expounded. “Here I was: a young, quirky Black, becoming a queer boy, and was assaulted a lot. I faced a lot of violence, but this is a situation that I made it out of. That day, they tried to light a match, but the wind didn’t allow the fire to light. It was my way of sort of thinking, ‘how much Black life does this represent? How many of us endure many fires? Whether it’s racism, economic exploitation … Some of us survive. Some of us don’t.”
It’s Also About Love and the Ways in Which It Shapes Us.
“I wanted to write an honest book,” Moore continued. “I wanted to show that along with the violence and along with some of the antagonism was also love and hope and community that was present, too . . . [The violence] was no stronger of presence in life than my Black momma who had me at 16, her sisters, the people in my community who nurtured me and saved me through it. I’ve come to be who I am because of these metaphorical fires. They’ve helped me understand the world as I’ve come to see it, but I’m certainly who I am because of the love that was present, too.”
Through words, I came to understand myself.
If You’re a Writer (and If You’re Not), No Ashes Will Stir You.
In a recent tweet, Moore reflected on how long it took for him to consider himself a writer. “Somehow I was lead to believe, because of neoliberalism, that the role of the writer was to produce, to labor, as evidenced by the stamp of an industry as opposed to creating art because the writer must,” he wrote.
Of his tweet, Moore added, “I’ve been writing all of my life. I won my first poetry contest in Camden, New Jersey at 14. Sonia Sanchez had been one of the presenters at that event. And when I think about that moment, I think about the fact that words had always been available to me. Through words, I came to understand myself.”
Through His Own Vulnerability, Moore Creates Space for the Rest of Us to Be Vulnerable, Too.
But we won’t spoil it all for you. Grab your copy here.
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