Something that I have been wanting to write about for awhile is the plight of the urban novel. I love a good urban romance or street lit book, but there are so many nowadays that it’s a challenge to find ones that are written up to a certain standard. Even so, there’s the common misconception that poorly written hood fiction is a direct result of the skill level of the authors who write them, but this isn’t necessarily true.
Urban novels often get a bad rap, not only because of their “hood” content but because some of them are not written well. As I have been toying with the idea of self-publishing my own books, I’ve realized that much of this has nothing to do with whether an urban novelist is less capable of forming a grammatically correct sentence than a mainstream fiction writer. Instead, it has very much to do with the self-publishing process or, in the alternative, with underfunded publishing companies who sometimes can’t afford to hire a good editor.
I wanted to take some time out to write a little bit about what my goals for this blog and my personal goals are and my journey to get there. My vision is to create a brand for the multi-dimensional femme identified person that represents lifestyle interests and social justice as two things that are not mutually exclusive. More specifically, I want to create a blog that discusses art, fashion, pop culture, and socio-political issues from the perspective of a feminist, queer, woman of color. However, as I continue to build this brand, I’m not sure that I always make those things clear. It’s a work in progress. Now that I am writing full-time (at least for now), I have more of an opportunity to delve further into this adventure.
As those of you who have been reading this blog from the start know, it all began with me trying to figure out how to incorporate my desire to write into my life as more than just a hobby. Secondly, I wanted to figure out a way to return to my passion for social justice since my legal career unexpectedly took me in the opposite direction over the years. Neither writing or fighting for social justice are easy goals or things that would necessarily earn me a living, but last year, I decided that I was ready for the challenge. So, I started this blog, began freelance writing, and have been learning so many things along the way.
First off, I never would have imaged that two degrees and 30 plus years living my life I would be working from a cubicle. But that is another story, for another day. For now, let’s just chalk it up to me living in one of the most crowded cities in the world where there’s not much real estate in most buildings for even managers to have their own offices, let alone “lowly” contract workers like myself.
Anyway, the other day I was looking up at the ceiling, above my cubicle walls, and I remembered being a small child, laying on the top bunk of my and my sister’s bunk beds. I would stare at the ceiling in the dark and imagine a make believe world, all the characters that lived inside and, most importantly, their stories.
I’m not sure whether it was a way for me to escape – only God knows what I thought I was escaping from – or just that I had a crazy-active imagination. Whatever the reason, I have always made stories and I have always been very “in my head”, thinking about things and trying to figure out why they are the way that they are. It is why as a child I wanted to become a writer and as an adolescent I wanted to study psychology. My sense of justice took me in a slightly different direction, namely, law school. But I have slowly found my way back.
Words are powerful. They can be persuasive, they can cause confusion, they can create joy where there otherwise would be none, and they can demand retribution. Throughout my life words have taken me places. My words have gained me acceptance into spaces I may not have been allowed to enter and they have caused rifts in my interpersonal relationships. My lack of words when I’ve felt especially introspective has brought me to face significant changes in my life; changes that were a catalyst to me struggling to find the right words to decipher what was really going on. Those are the times that writing helped me to find these words and eventually find myself.
Whether I am thinking them, screaming them or writing them down, words have always been there for me. As I go through yet another change in my life, I have come to realize that words are my saving grace and hopefully this blog is the spring to action that I needed to create my own story. There was a reason that that little girl had so many words and ideas floating around in her head. Now, I have the opportunity to turn them outward and as I do I will continue to discover the world around me and my purpose in it.