My particular lifetime, my individual profile, represents something very basic to African-American history and culture because I was a second generation immigrant, so to speak, from the South. My grandfather was born in South Carolina - well, both grandfathers were born in the South.
My aunt Geraldine was the unofficial historian and storyteller. She had all the information about family members and the gossip that came out of the church because we were very much part of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. At family gatherings, the older folk had the floor, had pride of place, and it was their stories I remember.
For a young person, anybody who's sorting out and trying to make a life for himself or herself, to have the opportunity each day to set down - sit down and then set down thoughts, words - it's a crucial, crucial way of staying alive, of not allowing yourself and not allowing the culture outside yourself to totally dominate your life.
The primary thing writing and basketball share is the sense that each time you go out, each time you play or begin a piece, it's a new day. You can score 40 points one game, but the next game, those points don't count. You can win the Nobel Literature Prize, but that doesn't make the next sentence of the next book appear.