Davida Kilgore is a Retired Therapist, Writer, Artist, and Fountain House Member. She is the award-winning author of two short story collections including Last Summer, the editor of a book of poetry written by African American children, ages 5-13, who she taught in afterschool programs, and has had three children's musicals produced. Below is "Chapter 1: Paris on the One," an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, The Myth Makers - a fictional representation of the two years she lived in Paris with the Black American underground:
"We are the myth makers. The divas and the divinely sublime. Delightful. We are kept, and the unkempt are looking to be so. We are the talented; and those who once were but now feast at the table of past reputation and the astigmatic memory of the lonely.
Yes, we are the myth makers, and as the saying goes, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. When the lights are low and she’s a ghost of herself, Stormy pulls out all the stops unveiling the abracadabra, the hocus pocus, the glamour so contrary to her nature. Larry loves you so sing, Stormy, sing! Sing in caves with no windows and only one exit. Sing, sing your heart out. For tomorrow is another day.
And Stormy’s promised other days.
Poor Sterling isn’t. So he’s tip-toeing toward death, he’ll arrive ten years and twenty-two minutes past his golden birthday. Sterling will die on a Thursday, a lone ranger, masked to the end. And although he‘s never said a word, death knows his name and will call him on it. Oh, Sterling, handsome Sterling, so many dreams, so little time. But even if your body hadn’t betrayed you, how could you have thought we didn’t know? As if we haven’t recreated ourselves, too. We knew handsome, we knew.
But now look quickly! Liquor is quicker. Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker, remember that old thing? Niagara keeps your secrets, doesn’t she? But only because hers are more interesting. Niagara’s back on the booze and always in the arms of Aurore. And poor, precious pastel Aurore, all pink and yellow and green arcs of light, silent as the theft of baby’s breath, she’s blinded by love for Niagara.
We’ve all seen Niagara drunk, who hasn’t? Pulled her to her feet, held her over back room basins. We’ve all wiped the spittle from her mouth, taxied her home, helped Aurore tuck her into bed. We did this because everybody is a star. said everybody is a star, right? Right?
Wrong! Dead wrong. But we want to be, so badly.
But it's Kyle I wish had never come; I hope she never leaves. Magical Kyle of a thousand adventures, a diva for all time. Naive and restless, bordering on the poetic, confused and confusing, she searches for love in the still of night, she’ll finally let him go. It's Kyle I love, damn, I hate her! Because we are the myth makers, we are too! out with the old order, ring in the new, now we are the ones to be envied, revered, bronze our heads, write our stories, if rules are broken, so what? we made them, hearts were made to be broken, too. Jump? we say how high. just ask, and we'll answer, "yes," if it pleases us, "no," if it doesn't, yes, no, maybe so? ha, ha, yes, no, maybe so but, love?" Kyle once asked me. What about love? I don't care if you love me (love me?), damn you, Kyle!
Yes, now it is evening, now it is evening. But there always comes the mourning."
Davida joined Tanya Rivero, CBS News Anchor and Correspondent, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, President and CEO of Fountain House, Dr. RaShall M. Brackney, Chief of Police for the City of Charlottesville, and Dr. Richard Dudley, Jr., Clinical and Forensic Psychiatrist for a panel on the intersection of police, protest, race and mental health, as well as the solutions needed to build towards more just, equitable, and healthy communities. Watch here.