Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Day in the Life of a DIVA

A Diva has many meanings. Beyonce says a diva is a female version of a hustler. Many of us may equate it to being a prima donna, a goddess, or just that fierce woman. As for me, I am that DIVA: Determined Individual with a Voice to become an Author. This was once a dream deferred, but now I embrace the negativity and channel it into something positive. Every day, we may face challenges on our jobs, in our relationships, at the store, or pretty much anywhere we go. We must choose how we react to these challenges and accept that once we roll down that hill, we have got to get up and keep it moving. For it is because of these challenges that we become stronger. I would have never coined myself as a Diva, but as I sat and thought about it, I realized I CAN be whoever I want to be.

I accepted the challenge by author Ananda Leeke, who suggested I start a blog. I was very skeptical, thinking "what is a blog", "how would I blog" and "who on earth would want to read it". Ananda said that you must have a team to help you along the way, and one of her key people is a life coach. I wanted to jump from my chair and cry out "I have a life coach and his name is Nathan!", but I just smiled to myself and called Nathan as soon as I could. He is my dear friend and life coach and he got me on the phone and actually walked me through the steps on starting my blog, and here I am. Every day I set aside time to write a chapter of my manuscript, and I took the advice of author/publisher Jessica Tilles and leave myself a "writing assignment" or plan for the next night. This has helped me quite a bit, but at times I find myself stuck or even too exhausted after working a 13 hour shift at the hospital, then coming home to play with the children and watch the late news with my husband. Time is valuable, and it waits for no one. I have dreamt of writing a book for some years now, and for 2 years I have given birth to various characters who will, I hope, keep
my dear friends, family, and fans wanting more.

In addition to much coaching and encouragement, to include "get your butt off the couch, turn off that TV, and go write", Nathan suggested I pick up a copy of Stephen King's On Writing, which I have been reading and it is giving me more insight on my writing style and how I can improve and enhance my manuscript. I also continue to read, read, read everything I can get my hands on, and spend at least a day every week at the library gathering more resources for myself and my teen aged son, who is also writing a book.

Many of the papers and grueling work done in Ms. Gutman's English class at LaReine High School helped me keep a constant 'A' in college. (If you had Ms. Gutman, you would understand how hard it was to grasp her style! Thank you for being so hard on us!) As I recall my days in Acklyn Lynch's Introduction to the Black Experience class as a freshman at UMBC, my creative juices began to flow, and my first poem was born And the World Comes Tumbling Down. He made me read it in front of the class, and later, as I and other students talked in his office, encouraged me to pursue writing instead of my dream which was to go to nursing school. My response was "but I just write for fun; it's my outlet, my hobby." He told me that writing could be my hobby, and I could get paid, too. I continued to write poetry, and even assisted my roommate Sandi with her English papers, who loved to read my poetry. When Acklyn introduced us to the art of Black Erotica, another side of erotic poetry, I was excited and accepted my own personal challenge to write about struggles within myself of failed relationships and unworthy "bed mates". I wrote Haikus of naive sexcapades and cheaters, and my own spin of erotique noir. I even participated in a poetry reading across the microphone from Nathan, as our friends and colleagues supported us in the audience. I was nervous; but I received much congratulations, even from women who were old enough to be my mother! My writing continued to be my outlet, and I used it as a way to journal and make note of lost love, disappointments, and even abortion. My inner DIVA was coming alive, and my duty was to let her "do her thang". But the broken girl who was told "I can't help you" by a self-proclaimed poet and author got lost in the rejection, and hid from the DIVA within.

Like Ananda said to me, "Karen, it wasn't your time. Your time is now." She hugged me and gave me a sense of inspiration that has kept my writing engine fueled and ready to GO! Nathan sent me a text: "I believe in you Karen. I want to see you finish that manuscript so if you get stuck, call."

And so, my friends, the DIVA has landed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Very First Blog

This is my very first blog, and I am nervous and excited all at the same time. I am travelling on this journey of creative writing and am FINALLY putting myself out there to get my voice heard. About 15 years ago, my very good friend went with me to the Black EXPO in Washington, DC and she encouraged me to approach a young woman to ask her about getting my work out there. I was told, "Well, I had to do it all by myself, so that's all I can say." I walked away with so much discouragement, and I stopped writing soon after that. I couldn't believe how mean a person could be, but I remembered the "crab" theory of life. All the crabs are trying to get to the top of the pot to get out and will pull and drag down the others so they can keep it moving, so to speak.

In 2007, I visited my fiance and his family in Bermuda, and while he went to work, I sat outside with the view of the Atlantic Ocean, and gave birth to my present manuscript. It is 2 years in the making, and it is really taking off now. I am so excited, even after being shot down after all this time. My experience yesterday at the Capital Book Fest just confirmed it all for me. And when I got in my car to drive home afterwards, I was so emotionally overwhelmed that I cried tears of joy. It just sat right in my spirit. I met authors Donna Hill, Tinesha Davis, Ananda Leeke, publicist Ella Curry, author/publisher Jessica Tilles. These women are awesome, and they embraced me and shared with me so much to help me put my time in and get my voice out there. Thanks Ananda for telling me to blog! And thank you, Nathan, for believing in me and keeping me motivated and encouraged.

And now, I must write.