Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Tehilayah Ysrayl. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Tehilayah Yahqar Ysrayl. I am from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
For those who don’t know, tell us what your name means.
My name means a song of praise to Yah.
Wonderful. What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?
Oh…I have never been asked this before. Hmm. I would have to say it would be white with splashes of earth tones, you know browns, tans, and greens. I would have an oversized reading chair with a tan blanket laid across. Next to the chair would be a table that displays the current book I am reading and an always ready wine glass. Across the room would be this glass desk with an executive chair and a new computer would be waiting for me and next to it a monogrammed notebook with my name in gold, (I love notebooks). My coffee cup to keep me energized. The sunlight would beam through the room because of the sky windows and land on my beautiful bookcases. There would be a beautiful rug in the middle of the floor, maybe white to cover the cognac colored hardwood floors. In the winter I would be able to light my fireplace so that I can stay cozy while I read and write. Yesss, and there would be a sign on the door that says “leave me alone I am writing/reading”. I would have a tranquil waterfall in the corner to give it that relaxed feel. Yess, lol… I kind of went there huh?
You did but we love it. That room sounds nice! What’s your favorite food?
Mexican food, I love it. Can’t get enough. I love nachos and guacamole.
Do you have a favorite color?
It changes, right now it’s purple and burgundy. Those colors have always been royal to me.
So Tehilayah, married? Children?
I am and my hubby is awesome. We have been together for almost 16 years and married for going on 6 or 7 years. Oh, wait, I better get that right. lol. Well, we have an anniversary coming up in October. We actually celebrate 2 anniversaries. The day we met and the day we got married. I think that is why I get it all messed up, lol. Truth is I knew he was my husband 2 weeks after we met. When he finds you, you just know, hee hee hee. I do have 4 children. three boys and one girl, she’s the baby. They are the ages of 19, 17, 14 and 9.
Beautiful. What is your favorite movie or TV show?
Movie is The Matrix hands down. That has always been my favorite. I have the whole trilogy but nothing is like the first one. My favorite TV show is Underground. I really hope they bring that back soon.
I loved Underground myself. Let’s talk about writing a bit. I hear you are working on a book. Tell us about this project and what inspired you to write it.
I am. No Idle Word is my first collection of poetry.
Thank you! This project is my baby. It’s the start to a new beginning and venture. It was last year when I took to the stage and I realized that I had a voice. It was then that hubby said, “you should release a book.” I thought he was gassing me up! I was nervous and anxious but I am here, trying new things and stepping out my comfort zone. I decided to leave it all on the page.
I love “No Idle Word.” Why this title? What does it mean, “No Idle Word?”
I meditated on a title for a while. I had so many written down and scratched out. No Idle Word was my last thought. I chose this because words are living. They have the power to build up and break down. They are always moving. It’s just a matter of how you choose to use your voice.
You heard it here first people!
Now. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
Well, my son is my go-to guru on everything superpower. But if I had to choose without his consultation it would be love. Love conquers all things. If I could touch someone one to make them feel loved and give love we could change the world one touch at a time. Make it contagious. “Don’t touch her she got that love bug.”
Love it. In your own words, what is truth?
Truth is taking off the mask and walking in the you that people don’t see. It’s the bearing of all unapologetically. Truth has never been gentle. I would say it’s the one experience that is always authentic. There’s a phrase “truth, you can’t handle the truth,” something like that. It’s true. We can’t handle the truth. Truth handles us, it refines, tears down and builds. Truth has always been the start of construction and growth within yourself.
Why is writing important to you?
Writing is the way that I can release all the ideas and thoughts that I have flowing all day and night. If I didn’t have a pen and notebook on my person I would probably be frazzled and confused all day. It’s a way that I can get whatever is on my heart and mind out so that I don’t let whatever feelings I have had throughout the day overtake me. Writing is my place of freedom.
Thank you Tehilayah for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Tehilayah is a poet, wife, and mother and has presented her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.
Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.
Tehilayah is working on her first book, a collection of poetry she is calling, No Idle Word. No Idle Word is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.
This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! For the next two days, you’ll get to learn more about our grand prize winner.
Jahkazia reminded me that it’s never too late. How so? Because her poem came in exactly one minute to the deadline of this contest and won the entire competition. If she had thought, “maybe it’s too late,” then we would not get to meet and learn more about this beautiful soul. Let’s get into it.
Introducing Jahkazia Richardson
Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia which translates to Goddess of the land) is a slam poet hailed from Durham, NC. She studied Clinical Psychology at William Peace University and will be continuing her vocational path in Art and expressive therapy next fall. She appreciates going to live shows in the area as well as trying different recipes from all over the world. Currently, she is an insurance agent in ‘Bull City’ where she teaches clients how to protect their financial assets.
Welcome Jahkazia! So nice to meet you beautiful. We almost didn’t get to witness your beautiful writing and voice. Please, tell us what inspired your poem.
Jahkazia: In my darkest moments, I saw myself as a victim for a long time, and I always had a pretty negative outlook on life. When things got cleared up, I truly felt more powerful than I have ever felt before. My inspiration for my piece was a deep reflection of my overall growth and healing journey as well as wanting to honor my ancestors in their struggle to find their own power also.
We’re going to stop here because tomorrow we will go a bit deeper into the mind of Ms. Richardson. For now, let’s get into this poem!
Thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors
Too bad I didn’t have their strength
Head hung low and shallow
my back hunched and broken.
How did I get here?
Words that cut deep into my skin like razors,
But I didn’t let anyone see me bleed
Times that I would cut into my own self
with the perpetuation of my thoughts
Lies that I would tell the little girl inside myself
Cut – excise the light from their eyes
Until darkness became my reality
Pain my reality
Depression my reality
Shujaa – warrior
Ripped out, open, and beaten.
Boom, boom, boom, I’m an African drum
Don’t let them see you break
Don’t let them see you bleed
Wrap them like the bastard’s child away and out of sight
Until the blood began to drip through
Until the universe can no longer ignore my cry
Cry like – negro spirituals echoing through the Earth and waking up the light
Somehow there was refuge in my brokenness
Deep in the soul of my being,
Up I came from the waters and introduced my light
Shujaa – warrior
Shujaa – strength
That’s me powerful with my pen and I write:
“Thunder thighs was my name growing up,
I hear thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors
Passed down like tales they used to speak,
I now know that power
I am worthy. I am warrior.”
Whew. That’s some powerful stuff. I highlighted some of the lyrics that really spoke to me. What did I like about this poem and why did I think it was worthy of the win?
Self-love is a journey and a journey is called that because you never know what you will find. It’s not always about being where you want to be but the journey. It’s about the process and all of the challenges and emotions that come along with it and the willpower to endure those challenges and to overcome those emotions.
This piece embodied the personal touch that all of the poems had. It was set-apart in that it told the story of how one person went from self-hatred to self-love in a deeply honest way. This is not just someone who had conquered the demon of self-hatred, but someone who had fought it and could show that fight in words. Someone who had gone through the journey and had fought to reclaim that power. This is a fight we’ve all had and this poem showcased that process. You get to see someone who did not just suddenly arrive but who evolved and endured the way we all do when we are coming home to ourselves. At some point, we have all asked ourselves, “What if I knew My Worth?”
Very well done.
Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!
Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson
Tomorrow, we will be asking Ms. Richardson some more questions and learning more about her as a person with an extensive introduction interview. You don’t want to miss this. Stay glued.
Missed our other poet spotlights? Please be sure to show our winners some love:
Do not ask me not to care. I will care anyway. I will wonder why the flower doesn’t bloom. Why its petals are dry. Why is there a flower falling to pieces for lack of moisture? I will wonder about the soil and the colors in the sky. I will mourn with those who are sad, rub empathy on the wounds of those who are bruised. I will care about people who probably won’t think twice about me. I will take this heart of flesh and show them that I am hurt too and I too have been trampled upon. Here, see the holes and scars on my skin. But we don’t have to let our hearts grow cold or build walls that are too high for people to climb. When everyone’s a savage, do not be afraid to be soft. There’s got to be someone in this chaotic world who can show proof that there can still be love, after war.
Excellent advice on publishing from publishing powerhouse Jane Friedman. She talks about Traditional as well as Independent and Hybrid publishing. I especially enjoyed her advice on memoirs and audiobooks as well as her thoughts on paying for reviews.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Urvashi Trikha. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Urvashi Kumar Trikha. I was born and brought up in New Delhi, India and moved to Dubai, UAE in my late twenties. I have grown to enjoy the sand of the Arabian desert as much as I adore the rain of the Indian monsoons.
Yess. What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
Quiet and uncluttered. A room filled with the smell of books, greenery and sunlight. A corner where I can cuddle up on a couch and read for hours and an old wood desk to work on. A shelf full of books – some like old heirlooms which I want to re-read over years and years to come and some like new shiny jewels that I can’t wait to discover.
Girl. I wanna be in yo reading room, shooo. Lol. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
An event planner! I love being a hostess. Every occasion, big or small becomes an excuse for me to organize an event which brings together friends and family. I am as enthusiastic helping a plan and execute an event for a loved one.
OK. Sounds like we are going to be good friends. I can use a planner! What skill would you like to master?
I would love to be able to stick to an idea.
Seriously, my mind seems to have so many thoughts all at once that it becomes hard to zero in on one particular thought to base a written piece on. Each thought seems to be more fascinating or more heartwarming than the other which makes it hard to choose a topic. Reading between the lines, within my thoughts is an art that I would love to master.
Got you. Urvashi, does blogging help you to write?
Blogging helps me immensely. My blog, simplyathought.com helps me become a tiny part of the lives of people across places and time zones from Iceland to New Zealand and the United States to United Kingdom. A click of a button enables me to share inspiring stories and motivational quotes with readers globally. The warm encouragement and the constructive feedback I receive from my wonderful reader family helps me better myself as a writer.
What do you think of the world we live in?
Our world is evolving rapidly with technology playing a vital role in our life. At times the changes brought by technology come to us so quickly in succession that it becomes difficult even for its inventor i.e. the human race to cope with those changes.
That’s what’s up. In your own words, define racism.
“Sexism and Racism, even when sugar coated leave a bitter taste.”
This quote of mine sums up how I feel about these two very troubling aspects of our society. Countries have grown from strength to strength over time and yet the dark shadow of discrimination based on race and gender looms dark.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult thing about being a writer is being able to navigate through your own ideas while you are writing. You could begin penning down words inspired from one thought and find your work move into a direction away from what your original concept was. This can be both challenging and surprisingly rewarding at the same time.
The most exciting thing about writing is the need to constantly challenge yourself and to push your own self-created boundaries. A writer may, many a times not even be aware of what all he/she is capable of writing. Discovering depth, inclination and genre in terms of writing is an extremely exciting process.
Nice. Why is writing important to you?
When I share a part of myself and the world (as I see it) with people from all walks of life in all parts of the world, my endeavor is to send each one of them love, hope and perhaps make them smile. Writing is my attempt to become a part of their life by adding value and joy. I have described the importance of writing to me through my quote.
“Words, when written with the intent to entertain and motivate, have
the ability to enrich both the reader and the writer.”
Urvashi Kumar Trikha
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
I would like to use my superpower to sprinkle the magic of Faith and Belief. I want to ensure that every single person continues to believe in him/her self each day. I see so many beautiful, young lives destroy themselves as they lose faith in themselves and it saddens me deeply. Having faith in ourselves gives us the immense strength we all need in the journey of life. “Believe in yourself-Always.”
Thank you Urvashi for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you beautiful!
Urvashi is an Indian expat who currently lives in Dubai, UAE with her husband and son. She writes entertaining fiction, heartwarming short stories, inspiring articles and motivational quotes for her readers across the world through her internationally popular blog simplyathought.com. Calling herself a Banker by Chance – Writer by Choice, Urvashi has a master’s Degree in Business Administration. She is an avid reader, keen traveler and enthusiastic cook. Urvashi draws inspiration from cultures across the world and works to support community causes close to her heart, particularly those supporting Women’s Education and Welfare.
Urvashi is the Founder of Simply A Thought – The Writers and Artists Collective. It is an initiative founded by her, for the resident community to help promote the love of reading and writing. There is also an added emphasis on encouraging women to share their own unique creative talents with others. “The joy of writing and reading, the satisfaction of transforming clay into sculpture, a white canvas into a rainbow, whatever your creativity may be – celebrate it, encourage it, applaud it.” (Urvashi)
Submit a poem on self-love / self-care in some way, subscribe to the email list (you need to subscribe so you get updates on the contest) and then email your poem to: yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com