Charles (Stevenson) Wright Biography
Charles Wright Comments:
(1972) Numbers. One number has always walked through the front door of my mind. But when I was writing my first book, The Messenger, I did not think of numbers. I was very bitter at the time. The Messenger was simply a money roof. I was amused at its success. Mini-popular first published thing. A pleasant dream with the frame of reality.
The Wig was my life. And as I write this on a night of the last week in April of 1971—I have no regrets. Let me explain: A year after the publication of The Messenger I was thinking of that folkloric, second novel, and began a rough draft of a novel about a group of Black men, very much like the Black Panthers. But, in 1963, America was not ready for that type of novel, nor were they ready for The Wig. Ah! That is the first horror hors d'oeuvre. My agent, Candida Donadio, said: "This is a novel. Write it." I will tell you quite simply … that I was afraid that I could not sustain the thing for say … fifty pages.
Now it was another year, another country (Morocco). Frightened, I returned to the states and rewrote The Wig in twenty-nine days … the best days of my life. The basic plot was the same but most of it was new. Thinking, working, like seven and, yes, sometimes fourteen hours a day. It took me less than three hours to make the final changes before the publishers accepted. I was hot … hot for National Desire … a short N. West-type of novel very much like The Wig, although Race would not have been the theme.
And. Many things have happened to me and to my country since then. The country has always been like this, I suppose. I only know that something left me. As a result … I haven't written a novel in six years. I remember Langston Hughes saying: "Write another nice, little book like The Messenger. White folks don't like to know that Negros can write books like that." Ah, yes … dear, dead Friend. Then. Yes. Another Messenger. And, what follows? Something that I've always wanted to do, something different … say an action packed Hemingway novel and then say … a Sackville-West novel. All I've ever wanted was a home by the sea and to be a good writer.
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