Emancipation is short stories concerned with individuals as they fit into the web of other lives -- as opposed to how that web entangles them. While the characters represent a cross-section of urban life, these are plain folk trying to survive as they attempt to make sense of their circumstances and the world they have inherited. It is also a book for every generation that may be wondering, “Where did all the answers go?” It is for the youth who thorough a litany of bitter experiences can only see the world through callous eyes -- and for adults who battle to keep whole a fragile sphere within what may appear to them to be a deteriorating society.
The human spirit is a central theme in every tale. While this worldwide essence has a tendency to bend and sway and at times wallow in the flogging waters of desperation and despair, Emancipation applauds the human spirit for persistently finding ways to soldier on no matter the obstacles. Conquest is not the purpose of this spirit for that is a matter of the ego. Courage is its body’s nutrients and justice its primary oxygen. Faith forms the skeleton upon which inspiration attaches its brawn and flesh. The human spirit proves an unconquerable element even against components whose sole purpose is marshalled for its defeat. We all possess this indomitable spirit. It exhibits itself in both minor and major ways each day of every moment as our world turns.
The life of Gratey Johnson provides a universal fulcrum around which this diverse collection of human and humane stories pivots. Gratey is an honorably discharged army war veteran whose life was sent tail spinning out of control into a posttraumatic stress disorder nightmare. As the layers of Gratey’s life are peeled away, the worlds of other characters stories intersect with his in an omnipotent manner that only real life can assemble. There is the story of Josephine Johnson who struggles with the tragic loss of her daughter and ongoing fight to save her son. Godfrey Booke, a brilliant young thief who has arrived at a critical crossroads in his life. The ex-cop, Demosthenes Nikolaos who is attempting to help Godfrey make the right choice with tough love and Nikolai Watson who believes education is the key to salvation.
Parents, grandparents, children, lovers, executive, thief, cop, educator, and drug dealer all have their unique tales to share. Their individual narratives of virtue, mischief, faith, immorality, morality, commitment and perseverance bridge generational gaps and make whole a humane patchwork in an otherwise ambiguous life-scape.
In a society where quick labels and categories are selective means of branding one’s character, the individual is suffocating. These stories attempt with grace and dignity to embrace our amazing differences allowing hope ample space to breathe. As we step through this journey of ordinary and extraordinary circumstances, perhaps the lesson learned is these snapshots are that we possess more common threads that bind than differences that divide.