The same thing I am praised for, is the same thing people try to snatch me for—this thing I do with these 26 letters.
In the face of abject crazy which is the current world, I would be remiss in my duties as a writer not to speak or record it. When I decided to lean into writing, being a writer as a career, I knew what I was getting into—what it would cost, and what I aimed to do in it.
This is the thing I love, communication and the art of word play. It’s what I do. It’s legit what I do. And for the love of it, I happen to write down my imagination to sell to people. I keep pens on hand, my desk is covered in papers and my laptops are always running out of space.
This, indeed, is my sweet spot.
Love and blessings,
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I am now almost half of my grandmother’s age, and 1 year younger than Dorothy Dandridge was when she died. I am also the age my murdered cousin would have been had he just listened.
Had he just listened.
For this completed trip around the sun, I am more confident than I thought I would be, and yet more resilient than I thought I had to become! I am writing more, tolerating less, and aware that the person I make my life with cannot be intimidated by my light.
I have decided to proceed with getting my MFA, at my dream school: New York University! I am raising daughters to negoitate the world, and not just survive it.
At age 41, I refuse to shrink. Why should I?
I am learning to own every space I am in, because my presence is a present! My talents in any situation are assets, and I refuse to have anyone around me that desires me to shrink or be mediocre!
I have been gifted with more opportunities to be great, trusting God in a way I’m sure will leave legacy, and in a relationship that both strengthens and scares me. Part of me believes that I cannot be a wife again because the vulnerability it would require I don’t believe I can. Yet, I cannot help but to want that again.
I have decided before at the competition of my divorce, to keep my maiden name. The crazy thing? I have to ask the state for that privilege to ask for what I was born with back! I started writing, hyphenating my name. The ex didn’t give me the name I needed to move in the world, not really.
My father did. The only man who could ever be bold enough to tell me what to do!
I am learning that joy is a choice. Daily. Sometimes hourly! My good girlfriends (whom know have crossed into the realm of ‘grown’) tell me how fabulous these 40’s are–and I am glad I listened! As I reflect on the 4 previous decades, I am in awe of God. I am in awe in a way that proves just how fragile life is, and the times when I thought not being in the world was the right answer.
This birthday is more than cake, more than presents–it is readjusting my crown. It is realizing that I deserve everything I have earned…every joy, every achievement, I am now at the point where I can look at the woman in the mirror and tell her, “We made it. Let’s see how this ends up.”
Family, I must tell you that I know I have to catch things up. Bare with me while I do! There are pieces I scheduled and didn’t complete, poetry I have to post, and things I have to do for sanity and business sake.
The inundating of posted work and think pieces is coming.
In the right circumstances, that title is both intimidating and completely discouraging. This is the dichotomy that writers encounter. It is a calling most odd: you have things in your head (ideas, concepts, characters), and you want to tell people about them.
Yet, when you tell people those magical four words, the reactions you get run a gamut! Either you have people whom think you’re immediately going to be published and win an Oscar; people who think that you have no talent and can’t believe you want to write; people who think they should be your personal muse.
Yet, with being pulled in multiple directions, you must have the wherewithal to own your pen. And push doubt away, while keeping focus on what it is you want to create. You have a right to that…don’t relinquish it to the people whom have no idea how powerful you are, and may never read your work anyway.
I have been at the ‘writing thing’ professionally for about 8 years now. And when I was in my last serious relationship, he had the habit of telling me “Babe, you gotta say something about this!” I will give him this credit: he forever was telling me that I could write. For that, I am grateful.
Yet, that is the most powerful thing of this mystical art. You have the command of an alphabet, of a language (one or more if you are one of the cool kids! Shouts to the multilingual writers!), with the ability to say anything. From the dynamic to the controversial, to the hot takes or cold, hard facts–you have the ability to say everything you see to say.
So…say it. Write it down. Publish it. Share it.
But, say it–because it just might need to be said.
This collection of poetry for this particular April 2022 was personal and freeing. As these pieces were published here, I did 30 days of poetry on TikTok as well (look for the playlist 30 Days of Jaye 2022). This was needed and necessary.
This year I have become the personification of this quote:
“I have so completely given over to the talent, that I cannot bare to doubt its power.”
-JBHarris, April 2022
There were ideas that bubbled up this month, poems written in the matter of hours, and books of poetry found on my phone.
Yes, my phone.
This month was a reminder to do what Baldwin said: do my work. My job as a writer, as a keeper of space, is to fill that space. My job is to keep going, keep creating, keep sharpening the weapons of my warfare.
There is much left to do, much more to say, and there is work indeed to do.