I guess for every writer there will be a moment when your writing actually comes full circle. A moment when you realize that slaving away at your computer for nights on end actually matters. And that’s exactly what When Pens Collide did for me. Some writers have a high horse and I don’t. At all. I write and I know I have a talent for writing, but I pretty much have no qualms about giving other writers props and often thinking they write better than me. Ha! But on a Saturday afternoon, in the chilly art studio of Ron Draper in the Bronx – I knew that, that I knew, my writing had purpose.
First and foremost, let me just say that I was probably the most shocked to even be asked to be a part of an event like this. Although a personal blogger, I don’t necessarily bleed on my page, every post, like I feel many of the great writers that inspire me do. I give it to you fairly straight without too many elaborate metaphors or intricate verbiage. And though I’ve learned that is also a strength in my writing, in my humility I was still floored at the opportunity to be amongst such great company. “The 9 Best Storytellers on the Internet,” the promo materials read. And whether that is true for me or not, I accept it today, because I am working on that in my life. Accepting the opportunity to be great. And so whether I am there currently or not, I will be.
We knew that there would be tears. I mean, a room full of mostly women telling stories about their truths – the good, the bad, and the ugly, you just weren’t going to be able to get around that. But what I didn’t expect was to feel that connected to everyone in that room once it was all said and done. Those are literally my sisters now whether they know and accept it or not. We are forever connected because of this shared experience and if you know me and my love for community, you know that I was ALL about it!
9 completely different and distinctive styles, yet the connection to the work was deeply rooted. We are all writers first. Outside of the branding and blogs, speaking engagements and such, we were first writers because we had no other choice. Writing has helped us escape the deepest of emotional pain, healed us from some of the worst anxiety, and validated us by giving us a sense of place, purpose, and impact in this world. It was refreshing to see an audience captivated by this “story time” of sorts while each of the writers read one another’s work. There were moments you could hear a pin drop, of course outside of the moments the buzzer for the outside went off. The audience was engaged in the laughter, the pain, the healing, and the love. Each writer sat and drank in the power of their words as they were read back to them, in some instances for the first time. I also learned, I’m one of the only writers who actually re-reads my work. Haha! But I digress. In either case, I guess what I am saying is that there was something beautiful that happened Saturday night, something magic.
And I was completely steadfast that I wasn’t going to cry. Ha! But I am a crier so who was I fooling? Occasionally I try to make up in my mind that I am not about that life and I almost made it through. That was until it was time for my piece to be read, How Will We Live. And the energy and the realness of what was attached to my beautiful reader’s relationship with this piece sent me over the edge. I had come face to face with the person that I had written this for. FACE to FACE. We often write with this overarching theme that we share so that we can help another person. And we read the blog comments and respond to the tweets, but through the computer screen it still adds a layer of mystery. I can’t always feel the exact energy of how you received this when I am reading on a screen. But here in the rawness of this space with close to 40 people watching, we had that moment. Our stories crashed right into one another. No airbags, head on. I reached outside of my comfort zone and wrote about such a personal moment for me. And there may be more people that will be affected by it before it’s all said and done, but this moment, this experience, helped me to know that there is truly a reason why my blog wakes me up in the morning. Why I am bombarded with more ideas than I know what to do with to expand my reach and bring people here. THIS was validation that I could have never just given myself. This was validation from God, knowing that I was there, and selected and paired up for that to happen and so I let the tears rip.
I just want to give kudos to the amazing women that put this event together. Tassika, Sharee, and Erica. You ladies are amazing. I love you, deeper than you probably understand because for two of us, it was our very first time meeting. Haha! But I have learned a new love in loving God and understand that love ain’t always as complicated as we make it. To the other women writers, we are connected, forever and always no matter where our paths may take us. Shefon, Lissa, Tyece, Roconia, Tamika, and Yetti. And to each and every reader, friend, tribe participant, or supporter that takes a moment out of their life to read what it is I think or have to say, I adore you. I thank you sincerely for allowing me into your life. I thank you for fulfilling a dream of mine that I was running away from for so long. And I look forward to continuing to grow with you and support your dreams over the years as well. You mean more than you’ll ever know to me.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out the love of my life who is always there with me supporting and cheering from the bleachers. Thank you for truly being my best friend.
When pens collide, there is magic. That’s the moral of the story from a Saturday evening, in the Bronx with 9 of the internet’s best storytellers.
Until next time!