Skip to main content

Revisiting Amazing Trailblazers

It only seems appropriate to kick off this month blogging about amazing individuals who have sojourned the publishing trek, laying roadmaps worth a beat to introduce in my own voice.

While I rarely, if ever, follow authors in what I'd consider a typical fan type way…you know… reading every work he or she writes, or showing up at every one of their public appearances, there are some authors who have come into view, who I respect a whole lot.

In the same way that someone might look at President Barack Obama for inspiration to pursue a political career, was the same way I saw Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley, James Weldon Johnson, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Paul Robeson, Marcus Garvey, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and likely many others whose names escape me. These men and women told me navigating the path to have my work published might be difficult, but it wasn't impossible.

And then I met, not personally, Maya Angelou. After reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I closed that book very sure, and I'm speaking 100% positively sure, so long as I was above ground of course, I would be published. This was during a time when manuscript rejections, across the board, was guaranteed at least once, if not forever, for most writers. Now, I don't want to get into who has, and doesn't have a story 'worth' telling, because after closing Maya's book I was sure there were those who felt, and still feel the same about her story, except this was a moment that told me some stories are bigger than us… or rather, the author. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was that story.

Next thing I know, there was Alice Walker, who's Color Purple was made into a movie, and Toni Morrison with that Bluest Eye voice of hers, and Iyanla Vanzant with the pocketsize 'Acts of Faith' books I started collecting. Honestly, often looking back, I used to think of these authors as being very lucky, publishing during a time when it seemed easier (for readers) to find strong voices. 

J. California Cooper, Zane, and then Brandon Massey, followed a little later by Van Whitfield and Edwidge Danticat, according to how I came across them, are my best examples of the first strong modern voices that not only inspired me, but opened doors for other modern voices just as strong and compelling.

And of course I realize there are far more authors who have trail-blazed some of the same paths as those I've mentioned, except as already stated, these were my first encounters; writers who came before me with great voices, inspiring voices, who built on my courage, giving me that beacon of light as a guide.

This is a great post to lead off with moving towards February, Black History Month. There are many reasons (and ways) to celebrate the nuances and hurdles some of my favorite beacons, and many more, have hurdled trailblazing paths I often thought of as being very lucky paths to be on.

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
– Maya Angelou 


  1. Thanks for this. I like the way you write. I also like the tributes to Maya Angelou what an inspiration.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and reading, Nicholas. Glad you appreciated the post. Maya certainly is a phenomenal great.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Genuine Women Rock!

Funny thing about genuine women is they rarely say much when first meeting one. Oh, she’ll look me up and down, sizing me up I’m guessing, taking in most of what she thinks she sees before ever imparting any real piece of her mind. Gossip is just not her thing; mines neither, which is why when she unleashes one of them pearls of wisdom, Baby Look Out, I know this is a Woman Who Rocks!
Genuine Women are as Compassionate as Passionate

Doesn’t mean she won’t make mistakes, do wrong, be wrong, get mad and have those bad days. We all have our hard days, ugly ways. Name a human who doesn't. And still, turning the dial back upbeat, I know one-hundred-ten percent a genuine woman’s words are not cheap.

50 Keepsake Female Perspectives... Memoirs about Women by Women. 
1.A Sick Life by Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins
2.Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson
3.At Wit's End by Erma Bombeck
4.Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
5.Desperate to be a Housewife by Meg Bortin
6.Diary of a Bev…

A Toast to the Writing Resolution Blog Hop Ball

I've been waiting to attend this ball all year, and now here it is…the perfect spot to slip in another Top Ten list, and call it my writing resolutions.
Before …oh boy…I get started, please know that Meg Waite-Clayton at 1stbooks is hosting the blogger ball. All the rules can be found (and followed) by clicking the icon pic in my caption, which also should be your caption as well. But before you get to clicking, here are my writing resolutions going into the New Year.

SHEWRITES Blogger's Ball #7 – YipYip HOORaY!!!

I think Meg Waite Clayton, who takes time out of her very literate busy schedule to host this ball, must really see me over here toggling this and that. Seems like it never fails, just when I'm about to drop a ball, up pops Meg hosting a ball. Of course, and please know, I don't really believe this. I already know the blogger balls come highly requested by SHEWRITERS, but can't deny that I, too, love the timing of each one thrown.
With over $#!$# projects going, not inclusive of other dependabilities begging my attention, I tried to avoid putting up the old 'Away on Vacation' notice. And rather than explain any more of that here, let me jump right into blasting this small pep of encouragement for those steeped in the writing process, and to writers everywhere.
If you're starting to hear a little whining about the time you spend writing, and blogging, to this is what I have to say. "Write on Writers." To my family, and perhaps to those who've been…