Who Am I?: The Creative Writer’s Burning Question

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Sometimes I don’t know what I want to do with this poetry thing. I have moments where I could see it as a career. I could see myself traveling the country with the likes of Rudy Francisco, Joshua Bennett, Lyrical the Lyricist, Black Ice and Sunni Patterson. I could see myself gracing the stages of colleges near and far with poetry features filled with pieces I wrote in college and ones I thought of five minutes ago. I could see it. But then I think of just how much time these poets put into their crafts. The stories I hear about how Rudy studies spoken word artists, consumes any news he can find in order to fuel his subject matter and how much time he actually spends penning and memorizing his pieces. Those are the moments when I realize that I’m doing this for fun. I’m doing this because it’s something I enjoy doing but not something that drives me to put my all into it.

When people ask me what do I do I say three things: screenwriter, poet and journalist, in that order. My degree is in journalism and I spent seven years in the game and I still do a lot of it. I’m a published award-winning poet who can also perform a little. But screenwriting is where my heart is. It’s what I see myself doing.

But guess what? They all seem to find their ways into the others somehow. My best script? Poetry cypher scenes throughout including pieces from my fellow Left Side Poets. My poetry? Nothing but narrative pieces derived from my natural ability to tell a story. My journalism? I’m at my strongest with my word choice and ability to get to the heart of a subject, the poet in me coming out all the way.

So what do I do with this info? I do what I’m doing now. When I’m asked to perform, I bring my all. I spend the time it takes to get my pieces together and leave the stage knowing that I left the audience with a memory. I continue to admire those whom I respect while still recognizing that maybe I can get there one day if I tried.

Or maybe, just maybe, I can carve my own lane. I always tell people that I’m not a spoken word artist or a performance poet. I’m a poet who happens to perform. I’ve tried to sit down and purposely write a ‘spoken word’ piece but it just doesn’t come out right. So I stick to what I know. I write a piece as I would like to see it on paper then I learn how to recite it out loud. Sometimes they sound right, sometimes they don’t, but I know I didn’t compromise my poetry for the sake of making sure it would sound right spoken aloud. Because of this, I’m working on my first spoken word EP to drop this summer. And maybe my content isn’t as strong, or my delivery as captivating, or my wordplay as deceiving, but I promise you one thing and one thing only – it won’t be like anything you’ve ever heard before. Because I’m not like any other poet. I see things in three different ways, making for an eclectic journey through the eyes of one person, one poet, one artist.

Terry always tells me that I’m carving out my own lane, but maybe it’s more like a freeway. Three lanes with the ability to switch at the click of a turn signal, while still getting to where I need to go…

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