By Victoria Grant, Guest writer
(In honor of Women’s History Month.)
I am a Baby Boomer, born nine months after the end of World War II; raised within the social confines of the Betty Crocker fifties; broke those chains in the Age of Aquarius freedom of the sixties; matured under the fragile shelter of the not-quite-fulfilled female empowerment and racial equality promise of the seventies; starved during the It’s-All-About-Me eighties while I taught myself computing, and thus thrived in the tech-boom nineties when my computing skills paid off.
Believing in my invincibility, in 1973 I became a Single Mother By Choice. I’d say successfully so – when I’m not ticked off at my one-and-only. (I swear I should have had five more.) A native-born New Yorker born to native-born New Yorkers – the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, in fact – I’ve lived my adult life in the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, on a Caribbean island, and now the island of Manhattan.
At 55, I returned to college in an attempt to ensure that some brain cells survived during my years working for a pseudo-government organization while raising a man-child to be a college graduate. I graduated magna cum laude, but, more than this esteemed signature of accomplishment, I cherish most during that tenure my entrée into creative writing. In my enthrallment with creative writing classes, I almost forgot to take the mandatory courses for graduation.
For one of my class assignments, I wrote a brief ethnological study on MTA New York City Transit and its employees. Notwithstanding the fact that I may have been the only submitter to the English Department’s Ethnological Studies competition, I was pleased that the report earned me a City College of New York writing award.
I always thought my knowledge of what goes on with the workers and inner workings of a system that transports seven million people daily could produce interesting stories. While at Stanford I wrote the first draft of my novel of an out-of-town “innocent” coming to New York to make it big, and who winds up working for Transit. New York by itself can be a mindbender, but the microcosm of New York City Transit can be a mind shifter into an alternate universe. I know, I retired from there adding to my family’s aggregate 100 years of Transit employment. I want to offer readers revealing and entertaining tales. No one else is telling my story. It’s the 21st century, and about time I tell it.
(Victoria Grant is a Brooklyn-born, Harlem-based writer. A 2013 graduate of Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program, Victoria is completing her debut novel. Go to @TransitWriter1 on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/TransitWriter)
(Cover art photographed by Sylvia Wong Lewis, is one of a 5-panel glass mosaic mural at the MTA NYC Transit’s 125th street station called ‘Flying Home” by Faith Ringgold, an internationally noted African American, Harlem-based artist. It illustrates Harlem notables and makes them fly. Go to MTA.info for details.)