Why did you decide to self-publish?
So for me, self-publishing was a big decision. I ultimately decided to do it because I felt so left out of the traditional publishing world. It is a very inaccessible industry for black people in general. That’s not to say no black person could succeed there, many have despite barriers. Still, it's really hard to get into traditional publishing as someone who doesn't have those connections. A lot of publishing companies wouldn't even see you unless you have an agent, and an agent you need a cover letter. And these cover letters are very very specific in the way that you need to write them, and no one seems to be willing to give you that secret of how to write the letter, without paying them first. So ultimately, I think, self-publishing allowed me to go beyond the barriers of traditional publishing, and tell stories that represent my life and struggles.
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What is your writing process like?
My writing changes very much depending on what I'm writing. I’ve published a comedy play as well as my debut poetry anthology and of course my writing process was very different for both. When it comes to my anthology, some of the poems were pre-written because it is sort of semi-autobiographical. So some of the poems I started writing around 13ish and its taken almost a decade to finish them if you think about it- which is wild! Some of the poems were already pre-written, but for the rest, I kind of looked at my anthology like a timeline and thought “What are the gaps that need to be filled in for the story to make sense? And what else does the audience need to know?” And then I sort of titled poems based on what they needed to do to fill in the gap. Sometimes I just sit down and just write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I take inspiration from other places. Sometimes I kind of have an idea already what the poem could be like, you know, what's going to visually look like or how I want the reader to feel with it. One of the poems in the anthology is called Exodus 20 KJV, and in that one, I tried to make the poem very visually jarring and kind of uncomfortable for the reader because that poem was kind of expressing what it was like for me growing up in a religious household with intrusive thoughts and struggling with my sexuality.