So, if you’re a regular you will know that I have a book out. The book is a poetry collection that encapsulates my experience of being a young black woman. It is a catharsis of the emotions evoked my various situations that many have the privilege of NOT experiencing. You know the drill, Grab some water and get comfy…..
Have you always wanted to be an Author?
Being a published author was not in the goals I had for my life; I wanted to act but the older I got the more I knew it was not for me. I managed to secure management aged 16 and I was getting booked for jobs from the auditions I attended, it may sound self-indulgent but there was no doubt in my mind that I could act and the validation from people in the industry confirmed my own thoughts. That being said something just didn’t click, my gut instinct was saying this is not were you NEED to be this is simply a WANT. So, I went on to study my first degree at University which was a joint BA in Drama and Education, instead of going to the BSA (Birmingham school of acting). That was when I discovered how much I loved to write; through the University I got onto a course at Curve theatre Leicester for young writers and in my dissertation I wrote about how black woman were represented in cinema. Thus, the seeds were planted….
What was your inspiration for the book?
Simple, my own pain. I cant remember exactly the first poem I wrote for the book but still to this day my poems are rooted in pain or some sort of emotion. At the beginning of the book there is poem called ‘An open letter’; a poem dedicated to my future daughters. This poem, unknown to me, was for so many more than just my children, It was for my God children, younger cousins, nieces and any other young girl who had been silenced by a noise too loud to overcome. ‘An open letter’ become the metaphor for the book and that metaphor was hope. Me hoping that the warrior women/girls that read the poem know that they are not alone and that they are more than what others define them as. To come back to the question ‘What was the inspiration for the book?’, it was my pain and the holding of hands between women/girls.
What was your writing process?
I have a few writing process but the most prominent is what I like to call the sit, prepare and wait:
- Sit with yourself and see what you start thinking of, capture how you move and how your body feels.
- Prepare; I love to read. So, I am constantly reading authors’ work just to experience a new world with minimal cost yet still exercise my brain.
- Wait.. for the words to come naturally; it can be on the bus, in the shower, sitting at my desk or while I am with family.
These steps are sometimes linear but sometimes they are not. They can happen in one writing session or they can happen singular at different times of the day, week or even year. I also set deadlines for myself, made it realistic, fun and rewarding. I only told about three people I was writing the book; I believe in the statement ‘Do not announce things prematurely’.
How did being so vulnerable become power?
I was terrified of sharing so much of my life and others but I knew God wanted this book to be written for more than just my own healing. I was healing from a toxic relationship, my own toxic behaviours and needing validation from others. Hearing from God is hard to explain and can cause a lot of confusion if you don’t have a strong relationship with him but you have to be obedient and so I was. Through my obedience came confirmation through a pastor I had never met or who even knew I had written a book, through my grandmother, my mom and through the career I am about to step into. It has not been easy at all, more storms have came and God continuously holds a mirror up to my face. Taking all of this vulnerability into account, God has revealed the power it holds; how my vulnerability has enabled countless women (and some men), through the universality of experiencing similar situations or understanding the emotions weaved into my poetry, the chance to have their own catharsis and begin their healing process.
Why mental health?
Along with being an author and starting a movement for the positive mental health of women of colour, I also am training to be a therapist. Not being soundly educated about mental health, seeing the gaps when it comes to people of colour and mental health, having a natural intuition when speaking with the people around me and my love for dramatic arts inspired me to study to be a Dramatherapist.
Both mental health and being an author were never in MY plan but GODS plan for my life manifested through pain and so I ran with it. Ignoring God would not only set myself back but it would have set the healing of others back too. Now I love to write and in fact writing is a passion that I practice everyday but I also really enjoy being a trainee therapist and the goal to open my own therapy practice is being worked on and prepared for. So, pray for me and continue to work on your healing and growth….
I got you, we got us…
peace and love TishaJayy xxx