07 February 2012

Love Jones At First Sight

On Friday night, I was having a discussion on the very first moment I decided that I loved writing. There are quite a few pivotal moments in my life that I could attribute to this ongoing love affair. But the earliest one that made me say, “Yo! I fucking love writing,” was watching “Love Jones.” Before you start the whole rolling your eyes and sucking your teeth in disbelief, let me explain.

“Love Jones” came out in March 1997, when I was almost seven years old. (Yes, I am very aware of how young I am). My dad rented it from the video store shortly after it was released on VHS (No, young'ns. Red Box didn't exist back then). After watching that movie, one thing was implanted in my head—I want to do that. I wanted to either become an actress or a writer. I didn't know which one yet, but I wanted to do one of those. I told my parents that I wanted to become an actress. My mom enrolled me in acting and modeling classes, spending oodles of dollars we did not have to support my dream. By the time I made it to sixth grade (just two short years later), I realized I was afraid of being in front of people. My palms got sweaty every single time I had to go on stage to get my Student of the Month award. To this day, I still have a fear of public speaking. My other alternative, with sticking with my plan, was to become a writer.  

In sixth grade, I wrote my first poem. Of course, it was nothing like Darius' (Larenz Tate) poem in the movie, but it was a start. It was a “love” poem to a guy in school, consisting of corny rhymes like ring/ding/sing and love/dove/above. Lol. I laugh about it now. I'm so thankful I was too afraid of rejection to actually give it to him. It was awful.  

Once I was able to navigate my way through the internet, I searched for and printed out the poem that Nina (Nia Long) read at the end of the movie and posted it in every possible place I could. It was my motivation and theme poem of my life throughout middle school and high school. At the time, I thought stuff like “I gather up each sound you left behind and stretch them on our bed. Each night I breathe you and become high” were words written by God himself. I wanted my poem's imagery to be that dynamic, if not better.

Throughout the years, as I've studied/cried/threw tantrums/practically ejaculated/pulled out my hair over the words of Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Sonia Sanchez, John Keats, William Wordsworth...etc., my goals have stretched farther than just wanting to create masterpieces that make people study/cry/throw tantrums/practically ejaculate/pull out their hair. (Excuse my extremely long and exaggerated run-on sentence). I want to write more than poetry. I want to change the world. If I am unable to do that, I want to at least change someone's emotions for those 60 or so seconds they are reading my words. Even if only one person gains inspiration from my words during my lifetime, it would be worth it because I know that, in my vulnerability, someone was impacted.

When did you first fall in love with ______________? (in my Sanaa Lathan voice). 

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