I’ve been writing for 16 years. I started off just writing in my journal because one of my pastors told me to start keeping a journal next to me. I had just started preaching and I began waking up in the middle of the night-particularly at about 3 a.m. That was the quietest time in my house. I began to hear God speak to me about my life and then through my study of the bible. Then I used journal my journal to express those existential questions and existential realities of my life. After participating in a black history program at my high school, where I interpreted Naomi Long Madgett’s poem Midway, I found out that I liked poetry and that running my mouth was a real gift. I then began to write poetry. I performed spoken word throughout college. I continued to write in my journal. It became therapy before I decided to get therapy. In 2002, I woke up on a Sunday morning because I kept hearing God tell me to write a devotional. I had been reading the Our Daily Bread daily devotional for the past year, so my first devotional was fashioned after that. I sent that devotional out to friends. They were blessed by it. For the next 7-8 years, I wrote devotionals and inspirational blogs that I sent out to over 1000 people via email. I continued to journal. My journal writing became very dark because even though I was writing devotionals and having marginal success in my professional life, I hated myself. I did not love myself. I had these negative ideas about myself, thus my self talk was damaging and deadly. I contemplated death often. Let me be frank, I contemplated suicide often, and tried it twice. This was the content of my journaling. I kept writing poetry. I edited resumes as part of my job, and I did it for a bunch of friends and family. While in college and in my professional career I had to do a bunch of technical writing, so I learned how to write in multiple styles. In 2008, I got frustrated with writing devotionals because that was not all that I could write about. I remember commenting to my ex-wife that I wanted to write about my political and social thoughts, and she said “well do it.” But I was still afraid of rejection. This was during the historic campaign of 2008. So I began blogging, and my blogs began to reflect my social and political thoughts. For the first time I was able to express the ideas that I had held captive in my brain. Then I decided to pursue freelance writing. Around this same time, I heard from God about my longing cry/question “How do I use everything that I am good at, and what is my real purpose?” I had so many ideas, but the simple answer was to professionalize everything that I was doing—speaking, writing, arm chair pundit and scholar, consulting, and advocating. I had a business already and a domain name since I graduated college. I began to research grad school programs and areas of interest. I needed to become a serious scholar and I wanted my writing and speaking to shift towards serious scholarship. Around this same time I began to feel God leading me away from church ministry, to much broader parish. I don’t understand it still. All along people kept telling me to write a book, bit I did not want to write something that did not meet my standards. Yes, I had over 300 devotionals and inspirational writings, but I wanted to write something like what I was reading. I was reading Dyson, West, Gladell, Du Bois, Kimbro, MLK, C.S. Lewis, etc. I had many book ideas; they would often come to me like sermons. I thought I would write something like Make Me Wanna Holler or something about me and my dad or me and my son. When a lady prophesied to me in 2006, that I would write books, I kept that with me as hope. Wow! Ok. I did not know all of this would come out. I was just obedient to the spirit this morning. My journey continues. Funny, I am a staunch critic of the church institution, but I’ve never stop believing in God. I now believe that God is far bigger and powerful than what the institution preaches. Much of the “God Talk” and church talk that I held on to, I let go. But God has remained the constant force in my life. I owe it all to God. It’s nothing but grace that got me here, because none of my hard work was enough. I don’t understand grace anymore, nor can I explain it, but I do know it. I know that God speaks, and when God speaks I listen.
I am tearing up as I ponder the power of sacrifice. Since January of 2009 I have been focused on a few goals that seemed really crazy at the time. I quit working full time, cut my income in half, and pursued graduate studies at all costs. To some, a few of my decisions over the last 4 years seemed wild, ridiculous and unfocused, but I knew what I was doing. God placed some desires in my heart that I could not run away from. For the first time my life, life made sense to me. I no longer felt like death or “what’s the use.” Although I had been successful at other things that I did in my adult life, I still felt like I was not living, that something was missing. So when the vision became clear, I ran towards what I saw. I did not know that it would bring me to a book. I did not know that is would lead me to Rutgers. I just knew that I had to follow a calling. And I am so happy that I did. I don’t know what is on the other side of this moment, but I am happy to be in it. While in a therapy session two weeks ago, my therapist reminded me of the journey beckoning to reflect and to also enjoy this time before I transition to the next phase in my life. So I going to be a good client and enjoy this next month that I have in Houston. I rarely take time to enjoy successes, because I always feel that if I take the moment to enjoy a success, something bad is bound to happen. So I most often keep working and striving for the next thing. But I don’t want to live like that anymore. I am excited for my bday (Aug 4) , which falls the same week as Kappa Konklave, the same week as my book launch, and the same month that I leave Houston. August will be fun, then in September my head is back in books. Follow me to #neverwouldhavemadeitwithoutGod
Just picked up my shirt from my boy DJ Chill @chilltees www.chilltees.com Proceeds Go to Trayvon Martin Foundation
Just picked up my shirt from my boy DJ Chill @chilltees www.chilltees.com Proceeds go to Trayvon Martin Foundation
“I believe, however, to paraphrase Duke Ellington, that at almost every corner of my kids there has been someone or something there to Shia me the way.”
– Gil Scott Heron