Imani Perry on the “Slow Work” of Writing
The Breathe Author and Scholar in Conversation with
In this week’s episode of A Phone Call From Paul, Imani Perry takes the call from Paul Holdengraber to discuss her latest book, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, out now from Beacon Press.
From the episode:
Imani Perry: The work is in the living. Thinking about my larger commitment to the ideals of a free world, meaning free from suffering and domination and violence. Free for creative expression, love, and not being constrained by where you were born or the body you were born in. For me, that is the core aspiration. To believe in a just society has to begin with the mystic being. The slow work is the dispositions that you take on as you encounter the world each day. The ability to look another person in the eye, to smile, to encounter generosity, that’s the slow work. That’s the building blocks.
We can make these grand gestures, statements, and professions, but, really, it’s the day-to-day that has the impact. The accumulation of the choices we make day-in and day-out.
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Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she also teaches in the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, and in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and spent much of her youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago. She is the author of several books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. She lives outside Philadelphia with her two sons, Freeman Diallo Perry Rabb and Issa Garner Rabb.