I picked up Issue 1 of Splice in Burley Fisher, one of east London’s most beloved indie bookshops, and whenever I find myself in spaces like that, I tend to move toward my homeland: America, and often the west. Maybe it’s subconscious. But I latched onto Reneé Bibby straight away. Her story describes a biracial man’s hair speaking aloud in his daily life, bringing into contrast the way he’s grappled with his own blackness, particularly in his majority-white workplace. The mag includes an introduction to the story, in which Dana Diehl describes Bibby as something of the beating heart of the writing community in Tuscon, Arizona. It’s a loving tribute to an unflinchingly potent voice: nowhere is a shlocky Twilight Zone reveal of the talking hair in question. It’s there from the first line, a natural and tesselative companion to the story’s protagonist and his complex personal history in an inherently, occasionally invisibly, discriminatory national ecosystem.
“You’re fooling yourself if you don’t know that everything is about race,” the hair said.
Kingston pointed at his hair. “I’m picking up fresh razors on my way home.”
First published in Splice: Anthology #1, 2019. An excerpt is available here