Thursday, January 31, 2008

Books are Deceiving

This is a re-post of my article on Blogging in Black

Over the years I must admit that I got swept up in the misconception that the book was a reflection of the writer. How stupid and prejudicial of me, being a writer myself and having told countless people that the stories and the characters that I write about are not me or my life. Yet, I fell into the very mindset that I’d vehemently shouted against–when it came to me.

As with anything,it takes a major jolt, a reality check to jar prejudice from its roots. My jarring came during a bus trip that I took this past summer–the Soul Expression Bus Tour.

The tour was the first of its kind–a bus load of African American writers doing a sweep of Wal-Mart stores in three cities. The trip, the response, the sales, the fans were phenomenal. The trip was historical and has been regarded as the most successful tour that Levy books as done to date.

But during that tour, sharing that time and space with all level of writers and all genres I was afforded an up close and personal opportunity to see beyond the wall of prejudice I’d erected regarding certain writers and their work. And what I discovered changed my mind and attitude. These writers were nothing like the characters on the page or the stories they depicted.

These were smart, classy, fun-loving women who found a niche, mastered it and soared to success. They are brilliant business women who were so kind and giving to me in sharing ideas, offering suggestions and even their help. But most of all they offered friendship.

The bus tour was historic in many ways. For me, it was a turning point, an awakening. I’m happy that I went. I’m grateful that I had the chance to have my eyes and my heart opened. It’s easy to look at something or someone and make a blanket judgment based on personal prejudices or preconceived notions. After all it’s been done to us for centuries.

But now especially during Black History month when we look at where we were and how far we’ve come, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that we have enough against us, out there and we don’t need to be against each other.

I learned a lot during that tour and hopefully I have made some new friends that will last me a lifetime.

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