Updated: Feb 27, 2018
This past weekend I got the great pleasure of working with other authors at the SO Northwest Women's Show at the Tacoma Dome. We had a booth of 70 or so titles with several authors there to sign their copies and help sell books of those who couldn't attend. Most of the books are fiction, fantasy, mystery and the such. One author has a thing for dragons even having a character whose body (or is it skin. Can't remember right now) of little tiny dragons that come to life. Personally that is both creepy an awesome. Another author has stories centered around Dogs/wolf type creatures. There are Steampunk authors as well. There are stories of murder and mystery based in the Northwest as well as stories centered around some of the National Parks like Yellowstone. We even have children's stories of a wiener dog with wheelchair supported back end name Frank and his yellow bird companion named Mustard. It is our own little Northwest Authors version of a book store. It is amazing to be a part of such imaginations. They create worlds for a reader to transport to and visit. They write to whisk the reader away. It makes me smile simply writing that because so many people LOVE to be taken away to far off lands of love, adventure, mystery and so on. That is the purpose of their stories and it is amazing. Then I wondered what is my purpose of my book and message? That question brings me here today.
My book, Just a Thought, is not fantasy or fiction. It isn't a wild vivid tale of lesbian pirates battling evil lords in space. (side note: I had said to a potential buyer that we had every genre in our group and one of the authors said that she had never seen Lesbian Pirates in space in our group before hence the reference.) Nor is it a time travel adventure or any epic tale of race against the clock of life. No, its simply a thought or two. The reader doesn't get the chapters or the character build up. It isn't a biography of my life telling of my hardships of a young black male growing up in South Central Los Angeles and the path I took to rise above the gangs, drugs and violence usually attributed to inner city living. It is just a book of thoughts on random topics with no real rhyme or reason for why then and why now that I wrote them. So, again, what is my purpose? My purpose, I realized, is simply to inspire!
As I posted on Instagram yesterday, "When one reads my book Just A Thought I don't want them to get lost in my world. Instead I want them to be inspired to explore their own world because of my thoughts. Let your journey begin!" That is it, I want the reader to be inspired to start his/her own journey. His/her own adventure. I don't want to take someone into my world per say but instead have him/her walk with me for a minute and talk, explore, share, grow and then go onto his/her next path of his/her own world.
You see story tellers like the great authors I get to work with from NIWA spin tales of fantasy to make you dream, hope, love and such. They inspire others to imagine the possibilities of not only fiction but their own stories hidden within the reader. Heck, many of them started writing because of the stories they had read when they were younger gave them ideas of their own. In those worlds that they were transported in they'd want more from the heroin or hero. They'd want to know why they do what they do or did what they did or , better yet, how they survived or will survive. Inspired to dream and imagine. It is amazing how one can get lost in these worlds.
I want to inspire people to live. To be the hero and heroin of their ow real-life stories. To pick others up while building one's self from the inside out. To think. To really think of the impact of one's abilities would have to make the world a more fascinating place. I, in short, want others to take my thoughts and start his/her/their own journey to inspire. We never know what our stories will do for others but if we never tell them how would we ever find out? The world needs it.
Last point, yesterday (Feb 25, 2018) on the last day of the So Northwest Women's Event I was humbled. First, I met a young lady (14) and a young man (15) who came by our tables. These youngsters were vibrant and wanted something more. They had energy and potential just beaming out of them. Each one of them went and got their mother's from the booth they were working (moms were vendors too) so they could get "this book I have to have!" They wanted to read my book cause they wanted to explore something more tangible than what we like to feed our kids today. Who knew I'd be "tangible?" They kept coming back to visit for the rest of the day simply to talk to us at the table. I did have to explain to the young man that he couldn't stay in front of the table forever since others needed to make contact with people too but that is part of learning how to be in a place and not interfere with others. In any case, I felt great because they made the choice that they wanted something more to think about. The young girl was, at that time, the youngest person to buy my book that I knew of and it just made me feel good seeing the young generation want to explore other ways of thinking.
I did say "at the time" because a short while later this very energetic energizer bunny of a girl came and spoke to me. She was 11 or 12 (I believe) and spoke with views on friends, school and the world like she had been around for 50 years. She talked fast and moved faster. She had a nearly uncontrolled energy pouring out of her. She bounced from one topic to the other as we stood there. She was taking pictures of all the books she wanted to check out at our table. She had been banned by her mother from buying more books until she made more money to afford said books according to her. She was funny. When her mother and grandmother came over to our table I felt inclined to tell them that she was a wonderful little spirit. She was, no is, like me. She was me at her age full of life, energy, ideas, thoughts with no idea of how to control all that energy. I told her, "you'll get it and when you do life will be simply easy and amazing for you" because, it will be. I have no doubt about that talking to this little ball of fire. Her mom decided to buy my book and another for her (to her surprise) and she, like the other kids, promised to reach out to me and tell me what they think.
I never thought there would be a day where I would say I "enjoy" kids but these 3 youngsters remind me that kids are reflections of what we show them and teach them. They reminded me of hope. They reminded of life. They reminded me that my job isn't to tell them where to go but to teach and inspire them to want to go. In short, to make their path. Maybe one day, they'll show me the path of their world that will inspire me to my next one. It's a grand world we live in.
And for the record I sold 31 books in those two days. It was my best two-day period since I released my book. The women came to read! Humbled and Grateful I am!