It’s the last week of March. I’ve been meaning to keep my blogs current, but I will have to divulge the “why” on another blog entry. As for this one which is long overdue, I have to fill in the gap on what happened after my book was published along with the birth of my nephew.
Shortly, after those two events happened simultaneously, I was asked to come and speak at my Alma Mater, Jackson State University (JSU), to the graduate class of publishing and marketing. I shared my experience with them about being a self-published author, the marketing ordeal, etc. Overall, I admitted to having fun with marketing my book once I found my footing. I told them the various software, tools, and methods that I used and felt would be easier for me. At the same time, it helped me really tap into my creativity on another avenue. Some asked questions; others asked about the book cover, formatting, and all. One of my old instructors asked me, “Why did you choose self-publishing instead of traditional?” I answered, “Most traditional publishers do not feel that poetry will sell. However, with self-publishing or independent publishing, it opened so many opportunities for me. I got to connect with other “indie” authors, writers, graphic designers, and the other creative individuals.” In the beginning, I had no idea how to market my book. I reached out, asked others about the methods used to promote their book, and they were all too eager to share their knowledge with me. It was so exciting to be able to ask for help or ideas that these individuals just opened up and advised on what to do. It wasn’t a competition. Once I had what I needed, I just had to apply what they revealed; for the most part, it worked. A couple of students acknowledged that I inspired them to write or even publish their books, poems, or whatever. When my presentation was done, I passed out my author information, encouraged them to contact me if they had any questions or needed help, and I exited that class with a smile on my face. For the first time in a long time, I held my head up. I didn’t look down at the ground as I was walking. I corrected my posture, strutted, and told myself, “I am somebody. I do matter. There are people who are looking at me, admiring me; though, I don’t know who they are. I still want to give back, plant a seed, and hope the seed takes to their soil like so many others before did for me.”
A few weeks later, I connected with my other poetry groups. I didn’t even know there were so many poets in Mississippi. (Lol, I guess they were in hiding.) Years ago, before I graduated from JSU, I had met with a group of poets called the MS Society of Poets, or as I call them, The Belhaven Poets. Why? Because they meet at Belhaven College. I wanted to become a member, but for monetary reasons, I couldn’t join at the time. Yet, I was invited to come and share my poetry. And I did. They were in love with my poetic babies. Before, I didn’t want to share because I’ve always met such negativity, skepticism, and rudeness about my poetry or how I write it. Afterward, one of the poets pulled me to the side and said, “Your poetry is something else. It’s very thought-provoking; it provokes awareness: emotionally, mentally, etc. Don’t you dare stop writing! Continue to write! Continue to be you as you’re fashionably are! Don’t let anyone take that from you! Who cares what others think or say. These are your words; let them unfold and tell your story! No one can stop you except you!” I was so shocked when she said that. But those words left an imprint. It’s funny I haven’t thought about those words until now, as I’m typing this blog. I forgot her name, but I will never forget her or what she planted inside me.
My other group is the Anonymous Poets; I love these poets. There is nothing but a handful of them; they still meet anyway. These are more seasoned, experienced poets. And I’m the only “young’un” as they refer to me. Deep down, I know it makes them happy to have a “young” poet among them. Perhaps, it makes them feel young at heart. Besides, I’m really an old soul myself. What others do or what they are into, I’m just not into it. Just the simple things do it for me.
Whenever I meet with them, I feel right at home, spiritually. It’s an indescribable feeling to be among the same individuals who share your passion, who crave the words and emotions that need to be expressed without ridicule or judgment. We’re all there to just share our thoughts, our vision: to just birth creativity and let it be. Not tearing it to shred because it doesn’t fit one’s “criteria.” Poetry is energy; it flows, and it comes from within our hearts, our spirits, our minds; the very thing that comprises human beings. It’s been a while since I’ve been with them, but I will return to that welcome table. Count on it!
In a couple of my previous entries, I talked about my 1st Author Vendor Event with Ms. Gigi, and the Jackson Expo, my 2nd Author Vendor. Now, I’ve caught up to what happened last year. And, well, lol, that’s last year.
This is 2018; I got to get caught up from January to now.
Hope you’re ready for it.