Friday, September 18, 2015
This post is a departure from what you ususally see on this blog. This is not a book tour or promo or writing update. There are no marketing tips or pleas for votes for some contest. This is just me sharing some of my heart as a writer.
I believe that as writers we are blessed to be able to share our creativity with the world, especially in the current publishing environment when any Tom, Rick, and Larry can publish their work simply with the click of a button. But I also believe that with such awesome opportunities come awesome responsibility. As writers, we have a stage. We create stories that often hold the reader captive for hours, days, maybe even weeks as they devour our work. For me, writing is a ministry. It affords me the opportunity to share my beliefs, my faith, my world view. I am able to share what I love about this world and what bothers me about this world. I can entertain, inform, educate, and inspire all at the same time. That is truly mind-boggling to me!
As writers, we can not only create worlds, but we can facilitate the changing of world views. On a good day, we can change someone's life. There is power in words. Words can be persuasive. Words can be damaging. Words can be affirming. But above all, words can be transfomative. Often, I sit and think about the great authors who have paved the way for me and others like me. Especially the great African American authors who told stories that would otherwise have been untold.
Zora Neale Hurston
They understood the power of words and understood the importance of using that power to tell our stories. They did not shy away from controversy. They were not afraid. They were powerful.
I want to be like them when I grow up. I want what I write to make a difference. I want to use the power of words for good. I shared this sentiment with my oldest daughter one day. I was lamenting, believing that I was wasting ink and not living up to the tremendous responsibility of being a writer, not changing lives or making things any better. She quickly told me that I was doing just that in telling stories of black women--some strong, others less strong--from all walks of life as they dealt with the realities of being black women.
I have never been prouder of myself than I was at that moment. I was never more grateful to God for giving me this gift.
It was then that I came to realize our stories could be told from any perspective as long as they are told. It is especially paramount in a time when people are trying to rewrite and/or delete our history that we, as African Americans, tell our own stories, whether they be stories of love and romance, opulence and drama, the streets, the grime, the south, misery, loathing, whatever! We have to keep telling our stories in our voices.
I have to keep telling my stories in my voice and in my way.
And I will.