You ever feel like you’re plumbing the depth of your inner being for the greatness? I’m feeling SO good about the process of my book. I read O Magazine (we are now up to three consecutive issues purchased), when she interviewed Jay Z. In it, he discussed how he would never be able to duplicate “Reasonable Doubt,” because it was 26 years in the making. Can you imagine pouring 26 years of your soul into 16 tracks? For some reason, that reached me more than I figured it would.
I was speaking to old ACT the other day, and he schooled me on the difference between me and writers that have attained the physical manifestations of success: they don’t give a damn about the naysayers and what they thing. I care too damn much. And I have spent my entire life caring and not caring. Trying to walk the line that divides being pleasing to claiming my rights to myself.
I’ve always had a bit of a spark. When your parents are trying to breed a southern lady, sparks aren’t always understood and embraced, so I always felt silenced, so I retreated into my books. Eventually, reading wasn’t enough, so I picked up my own pen and I wrote, and I wrote and I wrote. EVERYTHING. I wrote contracts with my parents. I wrote instructions to anything that required instructions. I wrote my name. I wrote the names of my crushes. I wrote the word “write” on bathroom walls. Discovering writing made me totally forget that I should be interested in boys. When I was 16, after years of “playing around” (because only reserving my skill for essays and such is totally someone else’s game), I started taking classes. “There’s a story there.” That was Ms. West’s mantra. (At the time I thought, “Bitch, I just GAVE your punk ass a story.) She taught me that even the most well-told story – ESPECIALLY the most well-told story – contained a deeper story. “Yes, but WHY does she sit on the stoop every day? Did she used to wait for someone there? A child? A spouse? I’d like to see you examine that in your next assignment.”
Creating is one of the most empowering activities in which one can ever engage. You are the boss of your shit, and no one can take your thought. But I was still not sharing, so to an extent, I was still voiceless. Outwardly, I was loud, I was calloused, but it was all a front because I felt like the people that I needed to understand me were looking through me. I can’t explain what that does to an adolescent who desperately needs acknowledgment. It’s not that I wasn’t loved, I just felt as though people didn’t know who they were loving. A large part of it was due to the fact that they had limited interest in my writing. To date, I think my dad believes the only thing I know how to write are emails requesting money.
So remembering all that, I picked up my pen and pad, and I just started writing. I started writing like a person without a family. It doesn’t matter who won’t like it, or even who will feel uncomfortable with my thoughts, because they are MY thoughts, and anyone on the outside knows nothing of my struggle. I’m living by the motto “fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.” Breaking that seal caused the ideas to flow. I can’t stop writing.
And I’m here now. Working on my “Reasonable Doubt,” which will be 30+ years in the making. And yes, I plan to show you how to do this, son.