By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
I ask Parks, who’s currently working on a screenplay adaptation of Morrison’s novel Paradisefor Oprah Winfrey, whether she agrees.
“But we dohave a creation myth,” Parks answers, furrowing her brow. “I do think that the Pilgrims coming over in 1620, taking the land from the Indians, and then come the slaves, and blah blah blah di blah blah — I think that isour creation myth.
“I don’t see us as a pocket of special interests at all,” she continues. “We have so many different types of people, but we have decided to be American, and when we go abroad we’re recognized as Americans. When I was in Canada on 9/11, I wasn‘t a ‘sister,’ I was an American. We’re like the Florida Keys, but because we’re pockets of people doesn’t mean we’re not a people. Look at the literature that came out of the Greek Islands. Are we not like those people? Or the British Isles? I don’t think that islands necessarily lead to weakness.”
She doesn’t go to the theater much, she says, because “I love novels, I enjoy reading plays and imagining them. If you see Macbethperformed, it can be fine, but when you readit you think, oh my god, you want to scream it’s so brilliant. Imagine listening to Bach and having to watch the musicians move around. In the modern productions, there’s so much sensory overload, you miss the simple beauty of those notes.
“As a kid, we had this piano. I did a couple of things. I’d collect rocks, and rather than practicing piano, I’d sit under it and write.”
She stares at a wall for a moment before changing the subject.
“So are they going to find these weapons of mass destruction? Kenneth Starr should ferret out that business,” she asserts. “He’s good.”
There’s something haunting her. The mental gears are still grinding over Russell Banks and James Baldwin and that Southern lynch mob leader who represents a slice of America’s soul.
“No,” Parks says, returning from a reverie, eyes now sparkling with a small epiphany that spills out like something between a poem and a sermon: “I don’t think it’s the guy who leads the lynch mob we need to figure out. He’s old news. I think it’s the guy who runs Enron. The guy who stole the pension funds. There’s no sweat, no exchange of fluids, that’s the guy. Who is he? The guy who knows that everyone who lives in that building over there will not be able to retire because now he’s living high on the hog — that, today, is our equivalent of the lynch mob. He’s in a suit, he’s educated, he’s got at least two degrees, he’s got some company and he’s robbing you blind, and you look up to him because he’s the CEO or some shit. So you’re slaving 9 to 5, no time for kids, no time for spouse, and Mr. So-and-So in the corner in the office has a boat, and he’s stealing your pension, and you fall back. And the myth of America that’s supposed to catch you does not catch you, and you keep falling.
“People everywhere are falling back into the myth of America, and it does not catch you. Because we do have a creation myth, that’s where the despair comes from.”
In the Blood is being presented by Loud*R*Mouth Productions at the Edison Theater, 213 E. Broadway, Long Beach; from July 18 through August 9, Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinees Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Call (562) 987-0053.