Some people take dramatic leaps of faith; others wade. He goes with us either way.
Years ago, after my second open mic performance, another artist approached me and said, “I need your book.”
Since I had written just three spoken word pieces at that point, and solely for performance purposes, it never occurred to me that people would want to read them. Books were for novels, memoirs, and traditional poetry, not spoken word.
The more I performed, the more people asked for written copies. I was flattered but dismissive. I figured I would eventually do a spoken word CD to record my work in my voice, but having spent much of my youth with my nose buried in novels, I wanted my first book to be a work of fiction.
Then I started blogging. A cross between journaling and the journalism I studied in undergrad, it was an outlet for my thoughts and opinions. Spoken word’s process required so much of me: rhythm, rhyme, memorization, rehearsing and public speaking. The blog wanted nothing but words, in whatever way they naturally flowed from my brain. We were instant friends.
A year into blogging, a colleague marveled at how much content I was creating. “You have enough for a book,” she said. True, but blogging was for fun. Besides, I still planned to write the great American novel.
That is, until fiction and I parted ways. Fiction, the long-time crush I couldn’t get next to. I finally accepted that I liked it more than it liked me, and ran for the hills with what little of my dignity remained.
My running led me to church for some soul searching. At a women’s Bible study on fear, I was forced to face my trepidation of writing. After straddling the fence between spoken word and blogging long enough to see both peak and plateau, I wondered what was next. My study partner waved off my rambling and repeated what I had been hearing for years: I should publish a book. She then informed the group as well. When they applauded, I knew it was time.
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.