Unraveling My Thoughts ~ A Book ~ A Release ~ A Celebration
“I've always loved poetry, but it wasn't until I’ve gotten to know you that it became something real”. This was such a great compliment because I understood exactly what she meant. It is one experience to love something. It is another when you love it and discover that you can build your life in honor of it. That you can read it and share it with other people who care about it as well. Seeing that there can be a support system in place who will encourage you to go deeper into it.
I remember discovering that poetry was something other people loved too. My good friend Deon McCoy would take me on day trips to New York where we would attend open mics at Satta Art Gallery, Brooklyn that my now best sis*star friend Tantra ran, and The Nuyorican where everyone wanted a chance to stand on stage and share a poem at least once. The Nuyorican has now become home to me. I met people early on who not only illuminated my path, but also my life with these great family-like bonds that we've shared for close to twenty years now. Deon opened the doors and I've been dancing in that space ever since. It is fair to say that he changed my life. Her compliment was an affirmation that I am, in fact, paying it forward.
That is one law I've found with blessings, they become more impactful if we allow them to spill into the lives of others. If we learn something great and tell someone who can tell someone else, we are empowering many. I have had many great experiences through art and it brings me great joy when I can share it or create it for others.
I've been a poet for most of my life but I started sharing it in 1997, in my first year of college. Since then I've been blessed to travel, meet people online and share in forums, create events and run an eleven year strong open mic named Lyrical Voices Night of Poetry & Art. This journey continues to be an amazing one. I have been published many times since the age of thirteen but this book is all mine, it is formal with an ISBN and artwork. It says my name on the front so when people put it on a shelf it will stand among other authors courageous enough to hand their spirit filled words over to other humans being. Hearing how it is touching the lives of others makes it even more worth the effort.
This book release was really a release. It was a release of my control because it can now be read in private, in groups, in discussions. It can be taken and turned into fifty different memes that are used in circumstances that have nothing to do with its original intention. The poems have gone off and started a life of their own. I'm cool with that because I believe that they will add to the well being of the universe the way they have added to mine.
So in true Shanna fashion, I convinced myself that I could do everything on my own for this release. The truth was that anyone who accomplishes things well usually has people supporting them, so I asked for help. Buddha LuvJonz accepted my request that to host and came up with fantastic questions that ignited a dynamic dialog. My sister/friend Marcella Lawson put her chef skills to use and created the most delicious spread of food, perfect for a Saturday afternoon. Lytasha Blackwell stood the entire time and sold all of my merchandise so that I could be free to speak without concern because my business was in trustworthy hands. Alicia Cobb came over the night before to help me put backs on my earrings and price all, of my work. City Lights Gallery welcomed me and all of my guests, hung my art, and made sure we had a pleasant time. Look at all of those blessings. Look at that support. Look at the room with full seats and people standing behind them fully engaged as I was in that moment. All of these people could have hosted their own artist talks that day, but it was with love that they supported me and allowed me to shine.
I am thankful for all of the kind words in response to “Unraveling My Thoughts”. The emails, reviews, conversations all give me the greatest gift that poetry has provided over the years, human connection. I plan to work hard and spread this book as far as it can go. Thank you to everyone who has shared links and told friends! This is going to be a great ride!