Why I Write
Our Creative Editor of the Mirror, a creative bundle of intoxicating energy in her own right,
asked this fledgling writer what motivates the creative urge besides the proverbial due date, as
well as influences and what rituals I employ when I write. I graciously, if not excitedly, said yes.
Dear readers, indulge me with this brief biographical account. In these days, with more graying
students gracing our campuses, it might serve as an encouragement to the notion of it’s never too
late to learn.
I have always enjoyed writing or at least the idea of writing. But I went straight into the world
of work right out of high school and unfortunately never looked back until later in life when I
finally succumbed to the gentle prodding of my wife and returned to school almost thirty years
later. At first, to get my feet wet, I began studying theology and philosophy at Sacred Heart
Major Seminary in Detroit. I was blessed to have some amazing professors who encouraged me;
that I really could master this schooling stuff, as I was nauseatingly lacking in self-confidence. In
2009, I earned my Basic Diploma in Pastoral Ministry, in no small part because I also discovered
Henry Ford Community College, where I was able to take some classes that were not offered
at seminary. I loved the campus and really did not stick out as much as I thought I would. My
writing skills, I discovered, were rough to say the least; I mean I had been out of circulation for
awhile. Well, I soon morphed into an English Department groupie of sorts and proceeded to look
for a course of study where I could take English classes as electives—who does that! I have now
completed my Associates in General Studies. I could name names in the creation of this late
blooming monster but I will not because you all know who you are, as many have become my
friends. I have even had the pleasure of getting to know faculty who have not taught me; it seems
as if the English department is a pretty cohesive family to this observer. From administrators to
department deans, as well as by the incredible creative prowess of my fellow students, each and
everyone has helped enrich and transform my life toward a more artistic path.
The only ritual I have for writing is, when I get an idea I immediately proceed to pound the
keyboard or write it out. Unfortunately, the unpredictable muse often begs for my attention in
the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes it is simply a call for revision. I’m not complaining; I
will take inspiration when I can get it. I wrote “Bard Interrupted” during a period of dryness—go
figure (“Our craft is a finicky mistress”).
I am influenced by politics, literature, spirituality, philosophy and that bountiful fount of
inspiration known as the world of experience. While my main thrust these days is poetry, I think
I might want to venture into fiction writing—short stories in the future. I really enjoy the Beats
(thank you Dr. Wanless) and they inspire me for my more off-beat and edgy pieces. Poetry and
literature wrought from the world of suffering, strife, brokenness and overcoming are close to
my heart. To this end, I am inspired by African-American literature and more recently by my
exposure to literature coming from the Middle-Eastern experience. The diverse culture we are
blessed to have at HFCC has only made my heart’s yearning ever stronger.
As I aspire to write, I also have a corresponding urge to learn. For me, they are inseparable. In
fact, whether it is evolutionary biology, history, literature, film studies or a whole host of other
disciplines, in the back of my mind, the question I always ask, is how will this branch of study
help me to become a better writer or poet?
Ultimately, I fancy myself as more of a developing poet because the freedom inherent in this art
form allows to me to be either embarrassingly transparent or frustratingly abstruse. Overcoming
the fear of being either one, I too, consider a victory for those who take this craft seriously.