My Memoir Writing Journey

What exactly am I working on now? A lot of things but mostly my memoir. Now that Keep Yourself Full is on its way out, I really want to get this done and I will have to deter a lot of projects to do it. At least until I finish the first draft and then I can work on other stuff and just work on the memoir from there.

This is the hardest writing job I’ve ever undertaken. I have deleted everything I ever sent my email list as a sneak peek two years ago (can’t believe I let you in on that *insert eye-ball roll*) and have started over. I am fifty pages and nine chapters into the first draft so it’s not so bad considering starting over. What I don’t want this memoir to be is an autobiography. I’ve always wanted to write an autobiography, but that’s before I learned the difference between the two.

I learned memoirs differ from autobiographies. Memoirs are popular because they center on one theme and read like novels, making them much more interesting than the chronological format of the autobiography.

Theme

One thing I am working on is not making this psychoanalytic, if that’s the right word. While I’ve endured much trauma in my life, I don’t want this to be a dark history of my crazy. I don’t want this to be a therapy session. This is difficult because I’m not a sugarcoat type person and neither is my mother. I gotta keep it all the way real. I gotta be honest. How do I do this without going too far?

My title is “I Wasn’t Built to Break,” so my theme is to take all the things that have been obstacles and challenges in my life, that could have broken me physically, mentally, and emotionally, but didn’t. This means that I will not go into every single detail of my life but I will focus on certain significant events, starting with growing up in the Robert Taylor Projects.

Anyone who grew up in any of Chicago’s projects is a survivor in my eyes, a warrior. It meant they not only escaped the drugs, violence, poverty, neglect, and gangs, but they also escaped literal death. Perched above the high-risers of Robert Taylor and Cabrini Green, snipers (aka Gang Members) with high-powered rifles would sit on a top floor (in a vacant apartment) and shoot their rivals. These bullets though, often hit innocent bystanders, mostly children. I remember my Uncle coming to school to get us early because the buildings were shooting, and we had to run to our building. When I say it was a Warzone, I mean that literally. And none of us project kids ever got counseling or therapy for the things we saw. Not even the classmates of the seven-year-old Dantrell Davis from Cabrini who was shot by a sniper on his way to school in 1992 in front of his mother, teachers, police officers, and classmates.

Historical

Writing a memoir is no easy task so my approach is to research and write this as if I am writing a Historical Fiction novel, except everything is true. Since I enjoy writing Historical Fiction, I’ll use history as a buffer. Instead of focusing on my experiences only, I want to take us back into the politics of some of what was going on in the world I did not have knowledge of as a kid. There’s my world where I can only see what’s in front of me and around me. As, a child my view is limited not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. I can only understand my current surroundings and circumstances from an eight-year-old‘s perspective (which is the timeframe I am focusing on in the beginning of the book). Then there’s the world at large. How did the decisions of others affect me, one of 21,000 children growing up in what became known as one of the poorest urban communities in the United States, a concentration of poverty they called it, the Robert Taylor Projects?

I want to go into how the projects under the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) replaced the Chicago Slums, the discriminatory policies like redlining that kept blacks from purchasing homes in their own neighborhoods, the kitchenettes and one-room basements blacks lived in during the 30s, 40s and 50s, the beacon of hope the projects promised as a replacement, the mixed-community that was there (because whites and blacks both lived in the PJs!), the racial riots that never made the news, and the racist policies that caused many white families to move out of the projects and into the suburbs. Also, the Plan for Transformation that demolished Public Housing and replaced them with a mixed-income community of condos and townhomes and what this cultural mix meant for former public housing residents. (There is even history behind the name Robert Taylor. He was a black man on the board of CHA who opposed building the projects on the same land as the slums. He wanted to spread them out, so they fully integrated blacks throughout Chicago. After CHA refused, he quit. To name a building after him in the same location he worked against was disrespectful and an insult to his memory.)

I hope that if I do this, it will be a much more enjoyable read. I want to incorporate both history and personal testimony with the testimony supporting the history. I remember for instance that whole “Homie the Clown” Scare of the early 90s. I remember that because I had nightmares of the clown coming into our apartment and chasing me around the couch. In 1991, rumors surfaced that a man who we called “Homie the Clown” was riding around in a van kidnapping and killing kids. “Homey the Clown,” was the name of a character played by Damon Wayans on the early 90s sketch-comedy show In Living Color. The character was an angry black ex-con who carried a sock for knocking bad kids upside the head. His catchphrase was “Homey don’t play that.” Our “Homie the Clown” was allegedly dressed as a clown and went around kidnapping kids. Rumors said that he rode in a van and liked to stand next to mailboxes eating bananas. This sounds silly now, but it was serious back then, just like the recent clown scares. We got let out of school early and children were afraid to walk by mailboxes. It also didn’t help that Stephen King’s IT had also just come out.

Community

It wasn’t all bad though so I want to talk about the close knit community that existed there too that never made the news. Generations of families grew up together in what is rarely seen today. My mother’s friend, who lived next door, helped her to babysit. People watched one another children, shopped together, stepped up when someone was in need and shared food. We could go next door or downstairs to ask if someone had sugar or flour. We bartered services and passed along information about job openings or what was new at the Aid office and the candy lady was an entrepreneur. She used her food stamps to open a candy store back when you can get one piece of candy for every penny you had, better known as Penny Candy.  People threw house parties and sleepovers. Robert Taylor was not just a concentration of poverty. It was also a thriving community. When things were good, they were really good, and everyone was family. But you didn’t see this on the news. We were not all crack babies. We were not animals.

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Katherine Joe

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Leila, though I sign my stories as Katherine Joe (long story). Currently, I live in London but originally I’m from Iran.

Iran in the house ya’ll. What are some major differences between living in London and Iran?

A lot of differences, not only in how I live, but mostly how my personality changes. In Iran I mostly depend on my parents, I would stay most of my time at home and with the people who are our close family/relatives. Here though I change to a different person and I have to decide about everything myself. From the basic things such as my home decoration to how to manage my money. It’s harder but worth it. I love my personality more in London than in Iran.

Sounds like you enjoy the independence of living in London. Cool beans. Are you employed outside of writing?

I have never been a one-dimensional person. I study PhD in computer science and systems biology and work as a tutor and a teaching assistant.

That’s awesome. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

I think I am good at teaching and research. I hope to be good in writing too.

How many siblings do you have?

I have an older brother who is married and has a child.

What was your childhood dream?

I had many; I have forgotten most. The ones I remember are: I wanted to be a famous mysterious author who no one knew about her. I wanted to be a teacher and an astronaut. I had a lion pet and was living in a village.

Sounds like your dreams have come true somewhat. You’re a teacher and you write under a different name which is kinda like the mysterious author lol. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I lose confidence in a blink. Just something comes to my head, a small thought, I think it over and over and then conclude that I’m no good.

Happens to the best of us. We all have our moments of doubt. I commend you for being courageous enough to put that out there. We just gotta stop those thoughts immediately and replace them with good ones!

What’s your favorite color?

My favorite color is White.

Beautiful. Let’s talk about writing. Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite authors are Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Why is writing important to you?

I love writing my thoughts and creating my worlds and running away to them from reality. With writing them I can share them. Inviting people to my world seems exciting. Knowing I am showing them something they have never seen, as amazing.
Available on Amazon. A virus has spread in the world. An army has promised to save everyone by taking them to the Shelter. Everyone sees the story from their eyes. But one thing is certain, something is not right. With the soldiers who do not remember their past and the people who have no identity in a completely controlled world, something is off.

What genre do you write in, why?

Sci-fi and fantasy, because I enjoy running away from real world. Drama and fiction to teach myself and others about the real world.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult is that a writer has a huge responsibility. It is important what we write and teach the reader. How we influence their way of thinking and their beliefs. At the same time, it is the most exciting thing. A writer is teaching something to someone which can change their lives.

I agree. Does blogging help you to write?

It does, yes. What a writer always wants is to be read and internet has made it easy. With the blog, your art is out there and people can enjoy it. It is so fun especially when someone puts a comment on your post to criticize or compliment.

Gotta love that feedback right? Are you religious Katherine?

I believe in God and I consider myself a Muslim. But I think about my religion a lot. Sometimes I’m lost. But I want to believe in something for my own heart warming.

Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean when you say that sometimes you are lost and want to believe in something for your own heart?

Well, I was born in a Muslim society but I was never like others to accept what they hear immediately or to deny all the thoughts simply because they judge the religion on the society and not itself. I always enjoy a friendly talk about religion and comparing them to each other as long as we both respect the other party’s beliefs (which sometimes it cannot happen). I look for the best way of living and I believe someone introduced religions to guide us in living a better life. Sometimes I get so confused yet I keep my faith in the things I believe. So I assume I am doing my best, to the best of my knowledge.

We definitely have to do some sidebar chatting. What do you love about yourself?

I think the thing I love about myself the most is that I am different and I can easily be a teacher to myself and comment on my own behavior, analyze them and see if I was doing the right thing. I also love the fact that I am honest, no matter the circumstances to everyone and most importantly to myself.

Beautiful. I love that you can self-examine yourself! It’s of crucial importance that we understand that. What don’t you like about yourself?

I underestimate myself and I am happy with “good enough.” Though I want to learn to be perfect at something.

The ability to understand both what you’re good at and what you think needs improvement is an important leadership skill!

Would you say that you’re political?

I’ve never liked politics. I find it boring and complicated.

Lol. I hear you. What do you wish you knew more about?

I would love to know more about Astronomy, God and humans.

What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

TV show: Friends. Movie: don’t have one.

Whaat? You gotta have a favorite movie! What songs have you completely memorized?

Fire on fire Sam Smith, Reflexion from Mulan.

In your own words, define racism.

Not being able to love another person, or judging them at first glance simply because of their appearance. Not only skin color, anything.

I like that. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

Justice, which I could give everyone what they really deserve. With that I could give discipline to this world.

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

Comedy channel where they only shows comedies.

Does Comedy Central count?

I have never heard of that channel, not sure if it in on channel list in TV in UK. But if it plays comedy all day long, then absolutely it does count.

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

I can write almost everywhere, and for some reason when I am surrounded by people and noise my brain has a better function. So my writing room is a small room full of books and a desk under the window and the view of the alley where people may pass every thirty minutes or so.

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

The house has 10 bedrooms. A big master bedroom for myself, with an enormous bathroom and a huge changing room/closet. The other 9 rooms are suited for children I have adopted….

Wait, you want nine children??? Don’t answer that, go on. This getting good…

Each have specific color yet no animation characters on the wall; for I want my children to create their favorite characters in their heads. My dining room’s walls are decorated with green-blue bookshelves and while there is a 12 seater wooden dining table, there are two yellow armchairs under the window, with a round coffee table in front of them and a tall standing lamp beside each which is the reading spot. This stops anyone in the house from skipping a meal for reading.

You are so detailed I love it

Then the kitchen is just beside the dining room. It has all white wood cabinets and an island in the middle where the sink is built. I can see my children in the living room and the dining room while I’m there. The living room has a huge TV and half-circle grey sofas so everyone can sit. Big windows on each wall are the best light source and I decorate them with blue curtains. There is a wooden coffee table in the middle with a glass top and a round rug with the combination color of blue, grey, yellow and green on the ground.

On the other side there is a chimney and in front of it four armchairs, two green and two yellow, are located. A square coffee table with another rug is there as well. It is the “important discussions” spot.

Okkaay

On the rug, there are many cushions in different colours so it can seat everyone on the ground, if not on the armchairs. There is the hidden attic too. It is “I-need-space” spot. It is decorated with just a bed and a desk just like Anne Shirley’s room.

If you could live in a movie, which would it be?

Chronicles of Narnia. Because of Aslan.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

In real life? Having a backpack and going around the world, not fearing a thing. In my head? Quite the same thing, with dragons, swords and monsters.

What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

Mostly, it help you get better. Even if it’s an advice which you don’t agree with, it makes you look at your work from another aspect and think twice. Though, I don’t like the ones which come from the people who think they know everything, but they know nothing.

These are facts. What skill would you like to master?

I would love to master in writing what comes to my brain, also I love to learn how to draw. My brain knows how to, step by step but my hands cannot do what I think I want to do. I love singing though I don’t have a good voice and I love playing music as well.

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book on Amazon, in February 2019. I did it mostly for myself confidence and I got great advice from the people who read it. They helped me through it a lot with reading my work and commenting on it. I also started believing in myself and I’m working even harder for my new work now.

Thank you Katherine for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©2019. Katherine Joe

Bio.

Katherine was born in Iran in 1993 and has been writing since she was ten-years-old. She always has lots of ideas and sometimes she dreams about them. She believes if she does not write, her brain will implode (:D). Other than writing, Joe does photography as a hobby, plays the piano and is a student and researcher.

Be Sure to Follow this Author Online!

Instagram is brain__implosion

Blog is: brainimplosion.wordpress.com

Twitter: @katherinejoe1


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Lessons from a Book Signing

It’s time for another post on lessons from a book signing. I try to learn something new from every event I do. I also enjoy seeing if what we learn online applies when in direct, real life, person-to-person contact. Here’s what I learned from Friday‘s Book Signing.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

 

While I am not perfect by any means, consistency and practice really do help us to get better. Cliche as it is now, the saying is true. The more book signings and events I do, the better I get at pitching my books. I am a naturally shy person but author events help me to be more open. It is the chance for me to learn how to communicate what my book is about without being scripted (which is easy to do when you’re behind a computer), but that you only have seconds to do in person. For example, I had the chance to sit and think about what I wanted to say here, how to say it and the words that would best sum up this experience. In person, the time is much, much faster. There is no time to sit and think about what to say. There is nothing but your knowledge of your product and why you think it‘s worth the time and money investment. They even asked me to recite a poem on the spot! I am thankful to Yah I was ready.

 

It’s also not just about selling books but genuine interaction with the people. There were many people who bought books but did not take pictures because they didn’t want to and I did not force them. Some people didn’t buy books at all, but they sat and talked with me and laughed and we shared some interesting conversation. I met a new poet who told me about some open mic spots to hit up and a young man who referred me to a Barnes and Noble in the area that accepts Self-Published Authors. The best way to get started making change is to begin where you are.

 

  • Competing Against Cell Phone Attention Spans

 

In person, you get to see the distractions we compete with up close and personal. People‘s attention spans are short already but add to it the mobile device and it’s easy to get discouraged. Many of the people who walked past my table were glued to their mobile device or already talking on it. This makes me much more conscious of this when doing business online. Knowing that the interest in the smartphone is a big deal is one thing but seeing it empowers me with so many new ideas and thoughts on how I, as an author can keep this in mind when interacting with readers.

 

  • Don’t Try to Sell to Everyone (Don’t Sell At All, Connect)

 

The same thing about finding your target audience online applies to offline as well. While the time is faster and you do have to pull people away from their phones, discernment is important as well. I am starting to pick up on who to reach out to (literally) and who to let walk by. This may sound funny but it’s not just about getting a sale. Some people purposely crossed the street to avoid my table (lol), some people purposely focused on the ground and avoided eye contact, and some people were not on the phone. They just pretended to be to avoid me. These are examples that “I don‘t want to be bothered.” Just like not everyone will want to buy your book online, not everyone wants to buy your book in person. Some things I picked up on from people who wanted to buy my book or was interested in learning more:

 

  • They hesitated and stared at the book cover while walking by
  • They stopped by
  • They spoke to me
  • They asked questions
  • They stopped when hearing what the book was about

There are ways of knowing if you should reach out to people and if you should not. I hope to use the experience from Friday to help me at the Atlanta book signing in July.

  • Some Writing Advice Does Not Apply Offline

 

Every time I meet with people face to face it‘s a different experience than being online. What may surprise you is that I find writing advice (not all, but some) we use online does not apply to offline. There’s no screen, no script, no hashtag, nothing but good ole fashioned communication between two people who may share a genuine interest. In real life people do want your business card to learn more about you, they do ask about your website, and they want to know if they can follow you online. This means that while some advise against business cards, author websites and social media, this is not true when you are face to face with the people. In my experience, no one asks to follow your blog or if they can sign up to your email list (unless there’s already a sign-up form present and you ask them). While I think both are important and are necessary for Indie Authors to have (and both have helped me tremendously), in my experience when talking to the people in person who don‘t already know me, the basics they want to know is:

 

  • Do you have a card?
  • Do you have a website?
  • Can I follow you online?
  • Can I pay with my card?

 

Applying this means:

 

  • Having business cards with me
  • Having a website for people to go to
  • Being present on social media
  • Having a card reader on hand

 


If you did not get to stop by or you are not in the area, remember that I am Soul, my latest collection of poetry is 99cents in ebook through the month of April in honor of National Poetry Month. Also, if you are in the Atlanta area this summer, I’ll be at the Atlanta African American Book Festival in July. I’ll be premiering my first Non-Fiction release, Keep Yourself Full (of course I’ll still have my other books present as well) and other author swag. Don’t miss the chance to connect. See you soon ✒📚📸

View more pictures from this signing here
Connect with me on IG here, Facebook here, and Twitter here
Visit me on the web Here

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Dana Kearney

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dana Kearney. Welcome to the PBS Blog. Let’s get started!


What was you childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be a doctor. Then I realized hospitals and sick people scare me. So I had to find something else to be and I always loved writing.

Cool. In your own words, what is love?

Love is a connection that you cannot describe. It is so powerful when you feel it you know because you have never felt it before. It is a part of the air you breathe. It is unconditional. Love has been around since the beginning of time. Love lasts through the universe and galaxies. It is a selfless feeling that transforms you into your highest self. Love is when frequencies align, your life is complete, and the passion is at its peak. Love is when you see stars in their eyes. Love is balance with the universe.

Okaay Dana. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

A trip around the world would be the most exciting to go on. You could travel many different ways and see so many historic sites.

I love that. Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite writer is Zora Neale Hurston. Her stories transcend, time, space and culture. She takes us through two worlds where some of us live.  She describes a time that has passed, but it is also infinite.  She gives our lives space, meaning, love, and divinity.

What kind of music do you like?

I like rhythm and blues, hip-hop, pop, old school music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Sometimes I pick whatever makes me escape into another place and other times I pick what resonates with current moments in time.

Nice. Dana, define racism.

Racism is the power to negatively impact millions of lives through housing, employment, and natural resources based on race.

Nicely put. What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

My favorite movie is Gladiator. I love stories of Ancient Times. I love how the actors bring you into the story. They make you root for one over the other. Behind all the backstabbing and treachery it is a love story and a father trying to return home after he avenges his family.

Diamonds or Light? is available now on Amazon.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult part about being a writer is getting your thoughts into a familiar structure. The most exciting part is giving your perspective on life.

What does that mean, getting your thoughts into a familiar structure?

Putting my thoughts into a format that people are comfortable with. As your thoughts come out they may not be organized or naturally flow.

Ahh. Got it. That’s true. Is there anything you don’t you like about yourself?

I don’t like my need for perfection. It stresses me out but I still strive for perfection.

Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?

My best advice for reducing stress is take care of yourself. Do what makes you happy. Take time to meditate or pray. Take time to do your favorite things. Take care of yourself.

I love it.

Thank you Dana for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©2019 Dana Kearney. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Dana Kearney was raised in Oakland, CA and graduated from the University of California Davis. Dana was a public school educator for ten years. She loves to read, write, swim, teach, and travel. Dana still lives in California and is currently working on Diamonds or Light? Part II

Please be sure to follow Dana online!

Blog. https://orangeallinherit.com/

Instagram: @diamondsorLight

Atlanta African American Book Festival 2019

Just a quick note to invite you to join me at Georgia State University for the second Atlanta African American Book Festival this summer. Last year was amazing and I connected with a lot of new authors. I’ve come to truly enjoy live events. It gives me a chance to discuss this blog with authors face to face, take photos I can look back on for years and network with professionals face to face. So, if you are in the area around this time, I’d love to meet you. The event takes place on Saturday, July 20th, from 10:00-5a at GSU and is free and open to the public. For instant updates on things like this, be sure you are following me on Instagram.

web. http://yecheilyahysrayl.com/

#Authors Please Read: Important Introduce Yourself Author Interview Notice

Introduce Yourself continues next week with the introduction of more awesome authors. I have pushed it back a week for some important reminders and updates. You will also find these updates and reminders on the Introduce Yourself page.

#1: When emailing me about the introduce yourself interview, please put Introduce Yourself Author Interview in the subject line.

#2: Please be clear about why you are emailing me. Do not just send me questions. Address me by name, include your author bio, social media handles and your blog so I can follow you. Let me know you have at least attempted to read the instructions and be professional. Learn more about what to include in your email HERE and learn more about me by reading the About page of this blog HERE. You can also check out my author website HERE.

#3: Please attach your questions in a Word document and attach images separately. Do not include images in the word document. Attach them separately.

#4: When answering the questions, please post the question first and then your answer. Example: What is your name and where are you from? My name is _________. I ask you to do it this way so I don‘t have to go back and figure out which question you are answering. This is a free service but if I have to do extra work, I will start to charge a fee.

#5. Please do not send ambiguous emails where I have to figure out what you want. If you are emailing me about the introduction interview series, please say so plainly. Whatever service you are inquiring about, say so plainly.

#6: Again, please read the instructions published to the Introduce Yourself Author Interview page HERE.

Failure to follow these instructions mean I will ignore your email. All I ask is that you approach this opportunity with respect and professionalism. Nothing less.


Are you a new author looking for more exposure? Learn more HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Camille Frazer

Today, I’d like to welcome Camille Frazer. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Camille Frazer. I was born in Jamaica.

Jamaica in the house. Are you employed outside of writing?

Yes. I am a Child Advocate Attorney. I advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. I support a team of attorneys in Florida.

I love that. What was your childhood dream?

To be an attorney.

Dream fulfilled. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

I think I would be good at Logistics Management. I feel I do quite a bit of it already in my job as I cover a vast region (Central and South) in Florida.

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to master marketing. It is  important to reaching people, establishing relationships and building a base for your audience.

Agreed. What skill do you think you’ve mastered?

Delivering a closing argument in court. I love pulling out the facts that support my position and crafting a strong and moving argument.

Awesome. What’s your favorite food?

Ackee and Saltfish. It is the national dish of Jamaica.

What kind of music do you like?

Every kind except metal.

Lol. Who is your favorite writer?

Agatha Christie.

Speaking of writing, let’s get into that. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book in December 2017. It was an exciting process as it was a dream of mine for so long. The book was self-published in collaboration with Createspace. I was attracted to the support and efficiency of the process and the sort of a la carte approach. Meaning, the ability to choose the services I wanted, such as copy editing and marketing and foregoing services related to creation of a book cover. The team kept in regular contact via messages on my dashboard and by phone, if necessary. It was such a wonderful feeling receiving the finished work in my hand.

What would your perfect writing/ reading room look like?

My perfect writing/reading room would be a room with bay windows overlooking water, with built in bookshelves, a daybed for reading and a writing desk.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult thing I have found is the discipline to write every day, no matter the distractions. I got distracted in 2018, so my goal is to write every day in 2019. So far, I am on track. I carve out time to write, so it is built into my day.

The most exciting is crafting a story or poem from an idea, and creating new pieces of it that you can share and hopefully someone finds it beautiful or helpful.

Why is writing important to you?

Its important because I love it and I see it as an ability to help others lose themselves in a story or poem. It’s also a way to express my thoughts and emotions.

You seem to have a passion for being an attorney and writing so I have to ask. If you had to pick one to do the rest of your life, which would it be?

If I had to chose, I would chose writing. I have practiced law for many years and have focused more on it than my writing. I welcome the opportunity to focus on my writing and the experience the joy that it brings.

Good to hear. You are so talented. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

It would be traveling abroad for at least a year, volunteering, mingling with the locals and collecting stories and inspiration for a novel and other collections of poems.

I am so feeling that. I love to travel. What small things makes your life easier?

Audible makes my reading goals easier. My goal in 2018 was to read 24 books for the year. My 2019 goal is 36. I travel quite a bit, so Audible helps me meet my goals.

What makes it difficult? Traffic.

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

I think there are so many channels already, but if there isn’t already one, there should be a channel that prepares children to live successfully after they leave home. It should cover budgeting, balancing a check book, provide information on credit card spending and debt, savings, insurance, and creating healthy relationships.

That is so needed. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

Channels with infomercials. They can get you into trouble if you are not careful.

In your own words, what is humility?

Humility is a letting go of one’s ego and demonstrating a sincere interest in another person.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is an appreciation of self, letting go of ego, aiming to be your best self so that you can be the best for another person and also, sometimes putting the needs of another before your own.

What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a law firm dedicated to defending the poor and condemned, and individuals on death row. Its a call for us to consider mercy for these individuals as chronicled in the stories, they faced mental and familial challenges that contributed to their involvement in the criminal justice system.

What do you think of police brutality in the black community?

There is no denying the police have a difficult job, and there are good policemen and women who serve their communities honorably. However, given the statistics it should be hard to deny the disparity in treatment. For example, “black Americans are more than twice likely to be unarmed when killed during police encounters than whites” (2015 Guardian report), and “black people accounted for 31% of police killing victims in 2012 even though they made up just 13% of the population,” (Vox report by German Lopez).

I am concerned about the examples of brutality that have been documented and have led to the death or serious injury of civilians, particularly in the black community.

It’s unfortunate that good officers are blighted by the bad actors who tarnish their reputation. However, we can’t ignore the brutality suffered by black Americans.

I think better training and screening of officers would help to address the problem.

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

I love to play tennis. I enjoy exercising outside and tennis is a great sport for running around and burning calories while having fun.

If you could, would you visit the past?

Yes. I would love to have lived in Egypt during the time of their inventions such as the papyrus writing paper, their contributions to medicine, and the building of the pyramids.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more consistent with your writing and network more.

Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?

Deep breathing and meditation. They help clear and relax the mind.

Thank you Camille for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©CamilleFrazer. Photo used with permission.

Bio

Camille Frazer currently serves as Regional Legal Counsel for the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Ms. Frazer has been with the Guardian ad Litem Program for twelve years. Prior to her current position, Ms. Frazer was the Supervising Attorney in the 19th Judicial Circuit.

In 2005, she began her tenure with the Guardian ad Litem Program as a Best Interest Attorney in the 11th Judicial Circuit. While there, she also represented the Guardian ad Litem Program in the capacity of Litigation Attorney. After a one year hiatus practicing in the field of Insurance Defense, Ms. Frazer re-joined the Guardian ad Litem Program in October 2009, continuing her advocacy for the best interest of children.

Ms. Frazer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She obtained her law degree from New England Law, where she served as a Senior Editor for the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law.

Ms. Frazer serves as a mentor with the Florida Take Stock in Children Program, which prepares high school students for college and provides scholarships to assist with their educational needs. She is also a member of the Family Support Committee with Habitat for Humanity.

The Unveiling is her first collection of poems. The poems cover the many nuances of a relationship between people, between an individual and a community. Ms. Frazer believes that every moment has meaning, and each should be utilized to achieve its full potential.

Be sure to follow Camille online!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camilleamarofficial

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