The other night, I attended an event at Columbia University called “Phillip Lopate and Kiese Laymon In Conversation: Notes of a Native Son.” It was part of the “Year of James Baldwin” series. It was an evening full of interesting (and opposing) viewpoints, passionate audience response and lots of questions to ponder. There was so much there to unpack about white male privilege, especially as it pertains to academia, but that’s for a whole other post/essay/rumination. Like, for real. Lopate reminded me of my asshat poetry professor in undergrad. So. Much. Asshattery. No chill. No respect.
But, one question that lingered with me as a result of the evening is “Why do you write?” For me there are a few answers to that question, but the first and foremost is self care. I write because I have to write. I have to do this. If I were a dog catcher or an accountant or a graphic designer or any profession that wouldn’t necessitate daily, error-free writing, I would still write everyday. It’s my way of staying sane. There are words in my brain that MUST make it onto a page or screen, even if I am the only audience. My Morning Pages (Hey there, Artist’s Way!) are lifesavers and I don’t know what I would do without my trusty Moleskine for everyday meanderings about this here New York life.
I have to understand my voice before I share it. I share my voice with journalistic endeavors all the time. I have numerous bylines in several publications about pop-culture, art, politics and the like. My fiction is where I am a bit more gun shy on the submit button. But you know what? Fiction by Demetria soon come. Be on the lookout, homie.