The Legend of Tanisha Biggers: a novelette (12,875+ words plus a 4,900+ word Author's Note)
Two hundred of years ago, Black Haven was a sprawling town. Nowadays, Black Haven is an overpopulated, economically-depressed neighborhood. Against this backdrop, Tanisha Biggers is a twenty-something-nine-to-fiver aiming to move out of this small area.
Since her parents passed away, Tanisha has been content with being a loner. Tanisha keeps her daily routine simple. She goes to work, comes home, saves her money and stays focused on moving out of Black Haven. Her only friend in Black Haven is the loud and boisterous Vida. Normally, they smoke while Vida catches Tanisha up on the neighborhood gossip.
If having her named embroiled in a nasty rumor wasn't enough, the gossip has caused her to become the target of the volitive women of the Lomax family. Between Tanisha's fighting spirit, Vida's ride-or-die loyalty and the Lomaxes aggressive behavior, an explosive confrontation is inevitable.
In Pinkney's creative interpretation, the neighborhood of Black Haven is more than a mere metaphor of urban decay. It is a representation of the reality of many impoverished urban and suburban areas strewn across America. The rich histories of the proud people of eras gone by are mostly forgotten by their descendents. In the aftermath of destruction, a few shining souls, like Tanisha, strive to rise from the rubble.
Tanisha's path through this story ultimately becomes an odyssey across land and through innerspace. In seeking the guidance of her deceased mother, Tanisha encounters a different world in her dreams made up of a hodge-podge of landmarks from Black Haven. At each stage of that journey, she gets closer to her mother.
As Pinkney creates a fictitious neighborhood in modern-day America, his narrative seamlessly weaves the lives of unlikely best friends and their worst enemies into an entertaining literary adventure. The Legend of Tanisha Biggers, a spinoff of the short story Swiggers, is a kinetic tale of one woman's unshakable confidence and an explosive portrayal of the strength we all share.