Read to Lead/Write to Enlight is a concept. It’s a motto. It’s about making reading and writing a part of your daily activities.
Recently, I ordered my daughter a few books. These are books I’ve wanted to get her for quite some time now. Three of the books were illustrated by Vashti Harrison and one by Keturah A Bobo. These books were written by Grace Byers, Matthew A. Cherry, and Vashti.
Best decision I ever made. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Hair Love and I Am Enough. I have yet to read herb Little Leaders: Bold Women and Exceptional Men. These books provide such in-depth information about so many great writers and innovators such as: Dr. Mae Jemison, Maya Angelou, John Lewis, and Paul Robeson.
Read to Lead/Write to Enlight can be a concept that you choose to implement with yourself or with others. I choose to implement it with my daughter and myself.
This past Tuesday, I had the pleasure of participating in Otterbein University’s first Black Alumni Panel as a participant in the National African American Read-In Event.
“National African American Read-In (AARI) is a groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering African American books and authors. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.” People all over the country hold similar events to pay homage to black authors and literature.
The event was well developed and asked a lot of thought provoking questions. The Moderator of the event was Margaret Koehler, Professor & Department Chair of English at Otterbein. One question asked was “What has been the role of writing for you both in healing?” This question allowed me to think about my past trauma and how writing played a role in the process of healing. Believe it or not, writing changed my life from being scared of public speaking to thrusting myself into the writing environment, which often consisted of performances, poetry readings, book festivals, and more. Writing gave me the ability to express myself with no restrictions. It gave me the ability to use free verse to navigate words, expressions, life, feelings, and all that good stuff. It also gave me the strength to speak up for myself and what I wanted.
Until my mid twenties, I had been a victim of a past traumatic experience that occurred when I was 13. This “Thing” was ruling my life and making decisions for me. It was making me doubt myself and my abilities. I made a conscious decision to take control of my life and what I wanted. I decided to write about this experience in my second book of poetry. This allowed me to free my mind, worries, and leave the incident right there in my book.
Poetry and writing has healing power. Just think about Maya Angelou writing about her experiences in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Zora Neale Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Lauryn Hill in the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Writing about painful experiences does not always make it better. It just provides clarity, understanding, and helps the individual cope with unfortunate circumstances a little better.
Ways in which I started the process of healing was through my four books of poetry. Below, I listed each of my poetry books the order in which they were released. Poetic Outlets shows my Transition as a writer from very simple to playful and thought provoking. My Poetic Soul Unleashed is a continuation of my transition as a writer, word play, inspiration, and love for my craft. Journey to The Truth is about tackling those hard to discuss conversations such as When God Is To Blame, love, and being a dark skin woman. Renaissance of the Psyche is about getting back to what I love and showing the world the new me. It’s about giving respect to the past in Respect and a Tribute to Nina Simone and bringing to light wrongs made right in The Omen.