I think we need to see more unusual love stories.
I've been writing about the International Sweethearts of Rhythm for years now, and thanks to Jezebel Productions, I learned about the unlikely romance between Tiny and Ruby. This video - those soulful, cigarette-laden voices - wove itself between the threads of what I'd already learned about the Sweethearts and turned into the last story in ALMOST FAMOUS WOMEN.
Now, I practice yoga and drink green tea and breathe fresh air in Vermont, but I'm also a sucker for a life well-lived - and maybe well-lived, in some cases, sounds like Tiny's voice. Spent.
There were entire days when I found myself consumed by Tiny's story, but in my own narrative approach, I was also interested in Ruby - the glue of the band, the driver, the do-everything girl who was talented but didn't have that elusive star power that Tiny had. What really grabbed me in this story, and in many of the stories in ALMOST FAMOUS WOMEN - was not the glamorous part - the jazz clubs, the champagne - but the risk taking. Think about it: two African American women jazz musicians who were in love and traveling throughout the Jim Crow south. Now that's risking a lot to live your truth.
Even though we don't have many of Tiny's recordings, the ones we have access to are jammed full of wisdom and swagger.
-Don't worry 'bout sugar 'cuz I got it by the ton
-I'm a queen-sized mama with a king-sized appetite - you'll get the key to my door if you know how to turn it right.
-I'm not much when I stand, but oh when I lay it down...
Enjoy this number, from the woman who sang "Big Fat Mama" in the Nuremberg Opera House. (Really). Tiny, could you spare some fearlessness? Thanks.
There's a line that always grabs me from the Jezebel documentary on Tiny and Ruby: Times won't ready for us. Still Ain't. (Consider supporting Jezebel's work - they have some fascinating documentaries.)
Oh, and if you're not able to abide stories about women in love, don't tell me about it.