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Writing To Die On: By Isoje Iyi-Eweka Chou

Before her death, in a small room at the end of an oil-stained hallway, Zora Neale Hurston was working on her book on Herod the great. According to source, Zora “spent years researching and rewriting this book, and trying to interest others in the story.” Before his death, Albert Camus was writing the autobiographical, The First Man. If Camus felt the need to tell of his Algerian childhood, Zora wanted people to understand Herod’s grand significance to larger issues of Christianity, Civilization and Conflicts.

But Zora was by then living the pointed particulars of home for the poor, all of her prior courage and life crowded into an undersized studio apartment in a two-storey public housing somewhere in southern USA. Imagine her moving about her one-room apartment, bent slightly forward from the cruelties of poverty and physical illnesses; imagine the stylishness of her hat as her tobacco-stained fingers strain for the door knob…the marks on the thin layer of grime scratched permanently on that door knob baring all the specifics of suffering, abandonment and neglect…

…imagine that on reaching the door, that frail stubborn gesture upsets the small heap of discoloured foolscap papers on which, for three years straight, braced against the chill of indifference outside, she typed out a kind of ‘A Story of the World’…the manuscript scatters about as she falls slowly to her knees in no small amount of pain to gather each leaf closer to her bended knee…

By his death, widely cited as ‘proponent’ of a philosophical movement that would capture the universal imagination, Camus had compiled a significant amount of his own particular upbringing…

The First Man was published posthumously in 1995.
I haven’t been able to find the book on Herod the great.

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