Unheardwords of Writers of Colour

ha, spirit - letters to myself

Editorial: Like Water to a Thirsty Man

(encouragement to an artist)

When I’m not writing, reading, meditating, paying bills or simply living, I like to spend some time listening to author interviews, on the radio mostly.  It’s not that I’m particularly interested in hearing authors unashamedly plug their latest literary offering but because I’m always keen to find out what motivated them early on in their lives. My interest is in what prompted and encouraged them to put pen to paper and write a book.

The reasons they give apart from being varied, sometimes humorous, are always informative.   Ironically, a neighbour (young women) asked me a similar question recently, "what was it that made you really want to write a book?"  After a few seconds of deliberation I gave my answer.  Now, for the sake of a good laugh I'll give my answer here also.

One of the triggers that originally sparked my desire to write a book, was an Ex girlfriend's (she'll remain nameless) comment some years ago . I remember voicing my ambition to write a book to her one day, whilst playing around with words on my exercise pad; she turned to me, smiled and remarked sarcastically, "if you write like how you talk, you'll run out of paper."

Suffice to say that the relationship didn't run for too long anyway - another story for another day - however, her words, spoken in jest, touched my subconscious and set me on a mission.  I’ve always been the kind of person who relishes a challenge, whenever someone tells me, 'you can't do that', it makes me try my very best to prove them wrong – perhaps it’s something to do with being born on the Aries-Taurus cusp - or my strict father – whatever it is, I am a very determined character.

In truth though, the greatest words of 'writing' encouragement I’ve received came from my late mother.  At the tender age of four she informed me that I should always write stories from the heart, use my imagination, be true, and in that way people would believe what I wrote. That was forty years ago and my first book has only just been published in March of this year. Though it wasn’t easy; I remember having headache upon headache last year as I edited and re-edited my manuscript and the proofs sent back from my Publisher. At one stage thinking, ‘this is getting far too much for me', though a glimpse of my mother’s photo on my office wall, recollections of her loving words and I was back on track. It shows that words of encouragement are very powerful, positive, with the force to stay with you all of your life - like good medicine for the soul.

Like everything natural in life, creativity must be nurtured, tended to with care and appreciation. I view all creators as artists whether published or unpublished, works on display or not, lyrics set to music or filed away, all of this is artistry, and never forget it.   All creativity is beautiful, to my mind. From a book, painting, to juvenile Hip Hop graffiti plastered inconsiderately on walls – though it may not always be my cup of tea, still, I’m open to it; it’s energy, overcoming difficulties, to touch base with the inner self and express creatively from the soul.   All of this is why I love to encourage people, the creatively inspired especially.  In this life there are far too many critics and not enough creators.

As writers and lovers of a good word or two, it's imperative that we encourage others, fueling creativity - writing that opens out the soul and sets truth free.  There are topics and aspects related to my life that I would never discuss in detail with the closest of friends, yet I have no qualms about putting those issues down on paper for the whole world to witness, "go figure!"

Let us continue to write stories, poems, essays or whatever takes our fancy but most of all, let us encourage the creators of the future and surround ourselves with other like minded folk who will give us the vital encouragement -life sustaining water to a thirsty man.

© Ha, Spirit, July 2008 (all rights reserved)