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Writing saved my life…

I am a thought sought out by curious minds“…my favorite quote I wrote in 12th grade creative writing class. I always felt like I was born a writer, a poet but until recently I realized my passion and gift started somewhere. I have had this partial memory of being 8 years old alongside my older sister and being introduced to poetry. We were taken out of class to learn about rhyming and haikus not just for poetry sake but because it was counseling. I know now it was grief counseling through a creative outlet to deal with the death of my older brother. I suppressed the counseling part and held on to the poetry. But I was told to remember the good things about him and write that. So I wrote and haven’t stopped since.  I realized that we will never know the complete plans of God and all that he has in store for us and why things happen. I acknowledge that God gave me poetry, adjectives, verbs, prose and monologue, so I could cope. God saw my pain, my loss and gave me new life by breathing creativity into my heart.  Writing became my refuge, my world I lived in. I mourned through my paper and pen and was comforted with my words. I wrote poems, simple sentences and random thoughts. I was told to be a good writer you have to read and write a lot. I read sci-fiction, murder mystery, non-fiction, even trashy romance novels. In middle school I once read a book about how to skin animals.  Clearly I just wanted to read anything.

Growing up and making friends I rarely came across men that enjoyed reading as much as I did. And now I feel that people barely read or even write. Reading helps in mental development and is an activity that involves greater levels of concentration and adds to ones conversational skills.   We write Facebook statutes and tweets. We can’t spell if it wasn’t for spellcheck and I am guilty of depending on that too much myself. In college no one wants to read their class books much less a recreational book. Instead of reading a book people read worldstarhiphop.com. The art of writing letters has even died. I can just expect a bill in the mail. I love to feel a pen to paper versus fingers to keys. I remember the Harlem Renaissance and the passion that was once felt for literature. African-American writers living in Paris and creating rhythm and beats to words are the inspirations that I cling to. The works of Sonia Sanchez, Claude McKay, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Waldo Ellison, Langston Hughes and many others have fueled my passions and desire for knowledge.

It has famously been said “The best way to hide something from a black man is to put it in a book.” Maybe this quote makes sense to why the black men have the lowest high school graduation rate of any other group and their college enrollment is so low. I find it crazy how slaves risked beatings and death to learn to read and write and now you would have to beat someone to make them read and write. I choose to honor the memory of my brother and my ancestors by writing and reading. I use my words for positive upliftment and read to gain insight and education so that I may never be a slave to anyone nor dead to the world.

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