How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
When I was young, in the 4-5 grade, I wrote a poem and everyone in my family really responded to it. Also, I read History books on Phyllis Wheatley and read her poems at around the same time: 4th grade. I attended Scott Joplin School in Chicago and I would just take books out of the library that had to do with African American history, African American poetry. I read Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes and this fueled my desire to write.
Describe your writing process.
I am a historian first. I do a lot of thinking and reading and researching. I do not write every day. I have a project in the works every day; But most often, I am processing a concept everyday.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
So many things inspired my work. My poems are blues poems that reference art, music and develop a literary format for art and literature. The main thing that encouraged me to create these poems was that someone told me that I could not combine writing, music and art. This was my main form of inspiration. I had already begun working on the concept of blues poetry, but when this person, an academic, said it had been done but that I could not do it, I dove right in and never looked back. Also, my grandparents lives inspired the work. I don’t write about myself, my friends, or my parents; but my grandparents lives were very interesting.
What are you working on now?
I am roaming through ancestry.com and seeing what’s there.