From the Inside Out: A Writer's World
It is my belief that I have become a writer because of my love of reading; a love that developed in the womb. My mother was a voracious reader whose eclectic taste for the written word, was passed on to me. I vividly recall the immense pleasure of visiting the local library and being allowed to check out the limit of books permitted, and staggering home with them to consume within the two-week period allotted.
I grew up in Watts, a district in Los Angeles, California; I completed my primary and secondary years in the public school system. Marriage at 19 interrupted my college goal to graduate with an English major, but grasping at every opportunity to complete my studies, I took one or two classes whenever marital and parenting responsibilities eased up a bit. I did manage to graduate with a decent grade point average as an English major, but instead of entering San Francisco State University's English Department as a graduate student, I was accepted into its Broadcast Communication Arts Department. While a senior at the university where I pursued an undergraduate degree, I had entered the world of broadcasting as a disc jockey.
But that's another story.
Leaping over my years as a d. j., broadcast journalist, news director, public affairs director, and all-round media professional, I found my true love as a teacher in the English and Social Studies departments at the International Community School of Abidjan, in la Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa. It was there, working with middle and high school students in helping them to develop the tools necessary to effectively and accurately transfer their understanding, their interest, their intellectual and intuitive growth to the blank page, that my compelling need to write surfaced.
I had begun journaling about 30 years ago, and have come to realize that it was invaluable in creating a habit of writing every day. Practice does not make perfect; it makes possible. From this "possibility" I created a volume of poetry, entitled, Cat-Eyed Woman From Louisiana that was published in 2011. The poems are written from the perspectives of first-person, second-person, third-person, and presented in poetic language conscious of rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, metaphor and other conventions designed to please the ear. The poems are meant to touch the heart, to seduce the imagination, to create a pathway of powerful, beautiful, life-giving words to elicit an emotional response from the recipient.
My second published work, a novel, presented a different set of challenges. Obviously, the genre itself, required a different approach. Although the setting for Singing Our Song in a Strange Land is in the United States, and its main characters, American, the idea for creating the novel came to me when I was living in West Africa in the 1990's. I had my own ideas of how a story of a people's resilience, perseverance, and the ability to love--despite their circumstances--should be told. I soon learned that the characters had minds of their own! Unlike poetry, where the emphasis is placed on using words to evoke an emotional response, my task in writing the novel was to not only gain the reader's trust in the authenticity of the story, but to also make it one that resonates with the reader.
Published in 2016, Catching Water and Other Adventures Along the Costa Arriba, is my second volume of poetry and ranges from lyrical love poems, to thought-provoking poems of political and social upheaval. In comparing, the two volumes of poetry, I feel confident that my willingness to risk being vulnerable, to being transparent, to being open to change, has not diminished. My latest work is a collection of short stories, Try It On Before You Leave the Store, featuring stories ranging from a geriatric gentleman who rebels against a system which denigrates the elderly, to characters who are brave enough to ignore the conventions established to manage time.
Except for Cat-Eyed Woman From Louisiana, all my works are available as kindle books on Amazon.com. That said, I gain the entire profit if my books are ordered from the publisher, ShiresPress at a slightly higher price. www.northshire.com