I started this blog seven years ago as a struggling novelist seeking community. And to a certain degree I came to blogging as a woman who was learning how to trust her own voice.
Today, I am a published novelist--my book was met with great critical and commercial acclaim. I was dubbed a Power 100 Leader by Ebony Magazine. I've met so many wonderful readers traveling the country almost non-stop for three years; I've had wonderful opportunities like walking the red carpet for the Image Awards and hanging out with Vanessa Williams at the after-party, appearing on CNN and NPR and the NBC Nightly News, speaking at the Schnitz to an audience of 2500 people who had all read my book. The dream I had so many years ago came true! I got my big break -- now what?
I re-read this quote by James Baldwin and thought: he really gets what it means to be an artist--not just a success story. Words to live by. Thank you once again, Mr. James Baldwin!
“Then you make—oh, fifteen years later, several thousand drinks later, two or three divorces, God knows how many broken friendships and an exile of one kind or another—some kind of breakthrough, which is your first articulation of who you are: that is to say, your first articulation of who you suspect we all are . . . [Y]ou make your first breakthrough [as an artist], people have heard your name—and here comes the world again. The world you first encountered when you were fifteen. The world which has starved you, despised you. Here it comes again. This time it is bearing gifts. The phone didn’t ring before—if you had a phone. Now it never stops ringing. Instead of people saying, ‘What do you do?’ they say,’Won’t you do this?’ And you become, or you could become a Very Important Person. And then—and this is a confession—you find yourself in the position of a woman I don’t know who sings a certain song in a certain choir and the song begins: ‘I said I wasn’t gonna tell nobody but I couldn’t keep it to myself.’ You’ve come full circle. Here you are again, with it all to do all over again, and you must decide all over again whether you want to be famous or whether you want to write. And the two things, in spite of all the evidence, have nothing whatever in common.”
--James Baldwin, "The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity"