People ask what I do, what’s my thing. I tell them that I’m a writer. That I write stories and want to make a living doing that. Noses turn and then you get hit with, ‘oh, everyone’s a writer’ or ‘Why don’t you just teach? Get a real job’.
Groans. I just love it when people assume, just makes me feel all tingly inside. What they fail to understand is that I’ve already thought about quitting, never starting, being normal. I already thought about the struggle of being a fat Black girl from Detroit trying to write and sell commercial multicultural science fiction in a very prejudice publishing industry. So, thank you naysayers for stating the obvious!
Every time I’m on the verge of quitting (which is quite often), I think back to that little homeschooled girl who use to ride her resale shop bike up that hill to rush to the library. Even at 28, I can still feel the excitement of being able to hunker down on the dingy Aztec carpet of the small library in Ecorse, MI and freeing myself through the sentences of Goosebumps and Chronicles of Narnia.
As I lost myself in these stories, I’d sit there and think: one day, I’m going to write books just like these, for kids just like me, who are trapped and want to escape.
Writing has always saved me. One time, I let go of it. For many years. Why? Because society told me to. They told me that because of the color of my skin and where I lived that I would never publish or become honored in the esteemed writing world. When I believed them, took their word for it, it became the worst time of my life. After bumping my head against this concrete wall we call life and with no creative outlet, I eventually came to my senses and figured out a way to always integrate words into my repertoire. And now, I get the same freeing emotion that I got when I was twelve years old. That feeling that softly implies that you are meant to do this.
I am words. Words are life. And if you’re a writer don’t let anyone ever tell you anything different.