“In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know: Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in The Bathtub.”
Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to sit back, relax, and watch movies. Beasts of the Southern Wild pulled me into the world of Hushpuppy in the Bathtub and forced me into a Sankofa/Satori moment that had me blubbering and crying like a baby.
I’m a rather private person and I usually only share my woes with very close friends and family. So, it is hard for me to publically disclose the fact that I haven’t been writing. Writing is one of the most important things in my life. If I’m not writing, I feel like I’m dying or dead inside.
It’s been extremely heart wrenching and painful to deal with “not writing” especially when words would come but they refused to develop or flow. I kept trying to write but it was like things were stuck as in metal grinding against metal.
Something about Hushpuppy’s story busted open a valve and reawakened my resolve. Watching that tiny girl face down a massive beast in the wake of losing someone who mattered so much to her, just rearranged my perspective.
I’ve been pushing myself to write the next book in XJ’s series, Double Identity, but it’s not the book that’s been speaking to me. It’s not the book that’s been giving me waking dreams. It’s not the book that refuses to “let me be.” I’ve been avoiding Flee, the Troublemaker, and the Soul Eaters. This African Elemental series is hard. The subject matter is sensitive, controversial, and dark. My conscious mind refused to “go there” but my subconscious mind has been sending me secret messages.
Writing Flee was painful. Not to mention the fact, that the reviews have been mixed. Readers either love it or hate it. When Flee, hit #800 on Amazon and subsequently was in the top 10 for African-American short free reads on Smashwords, I just thought people were downloading it but not reading. I was wrong. I receive regular emails from the readers of Flee.
These readers are nervous or uncomfortable about saying something in public but they want more. They want to know what happens to Shania and her daughter. Is it a lifetime story of domestic violence mixed with a paranormal twist? Not so much, this African Elemental series is huge. As I continue to research, I feel that there’s more than three books involved. I’m just petrified to write them.
Why? My research on Victorian West Africa has me unearthing information that I’d rather not deal with, like how the slave trade kept going on after the Europeans decided that it was wrong, but West African kings continued the practice to maintain their wealthy lifestyle based on human bondage. That’s a difficult piece of knowledge but that’s not all. Uncovering the issues of female slavery along with the history of oppression based upon tribalism is painful and one that I hate to envision.
Then, there’s the paranormal element that has that feeling of foreboding. This tale, this series, will be a very dark urban fantasy that has elements of the horrific. It’s hard for me to write but I know from the darkness will spring forth hope and light.
So, here I am facing the 2013 New Year, I’ve decided to be obedient. I’m in the middle of researching historical West African religion as well as writing down the bones for a prequel to Flee called the Troublemaker. This is the story of Iniko Mattata, one half of the twin soul from Flee and how she shares her soul with the ultimate evil. Did I mention that she’s Mawu’s secret bi-racial child with the Norse War God Tyr?
After, I complete the Troublemaker Novella then I’ll be on to finishing the Soul Eaters novel. There’s a lot of violence, drama, and pain going on in this series.
For the readers who are fans of XJ’s series, no worries, as much as it pained me to have to tell my Indie publisher that Double Identity is not quite ready for February 2013, I think you’ll be pleased with what’s in store towards the end of the year in 2013.
So, that’s it. Hushpuppy got me back on track. Here I am facing down the Beast and hoping that my obedience will produce an African elemental series that readers will love and respect.
Here’s hoping that I’ll defeat the Beast in 2013!