As my Writer Crush Series comes to a close this 30th of September 2018, I take a moment to pause and reflect on the priceless moments experienced during this journey.

I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support of the Instagram Writing Community and fellow WordPress bloggers; that creating a platform where writers can meet other writers through this series just felt natural.

Engaging with countless poets, writers, artists, authors, photographers, entrepreneurs and fellow creatives has been an integral part of my life for almost 4 years. My words have literally traveled across continents and kissed the earth of places my feet have yet to trod. It’s been an unexpected blessing and honor to work with some of the best talent in the world.

My final featured poet in this series is an absolutely breathtaking writer.

I genuinely believe that her gift of writing is divine. Her words have encapsulated some of the most precious and richest moments life has to offer. And in addition to her complete understanding of the complexities embedded in the heart of poets, she is full of love.

Her love is further empowered by her desire to see the manifestation of love’s healing properties in the lives of others.

Meet Sana A. Rashid…

My name is Sana Akhtar Rashid and I am a 26 year old female British Pakistani. I am a primary school teacher, teaching children (who are 10-11 years old) a range of subjects. My career as a teacher has allowed me to progress quickly and for a few years I have been an English Leader at my school too. This job is wonderful and includes; ensuring a range of reading books are available in classes, English lessons are engaging, and eventually children feel they have the skills to continue their interest in writing professionally when they move to secondary school, college, University etcetera.

In addition to my career as a teacher, I have a love for writing, which is demonstrated in my professional life- but also my personal life too. The art of writing for me progressed in July 2015 when I began my Instagram page ‘@sana.a.rashid’. The purpose behind the account was really simple- I simply wanted to express my thoughts on a range of things. My best friend at the time encouraged me to present my thoughts through this platform; as I was filling most conversations with my deep thoughts and (after a great deal of hesitation) I finally plucked up the courage and went for it. Over time, my writing style became more distinctive and my interest in poetry grew. Writing multiple times in the day, and reading encouraging comments after I posted my material, was crucial in continuing my writing journey. Therefore, after 3 years of writing on my Instagram account, I continue to post my poetry online to this present day.

My poetry content and style varies,and I believe it is constantly shifting because my emotions change. For me, poetry requires feeling and it is a perfect way of channeling the words of the heart. When I write, I don’t think too much about the length of the poem, or the rhyme, or the stanzas, I let the mind and heart sync so that the feeling, whether it be happiness, sadness, guilt, excitement, sorrow etc is relayed onto a blank page. It is feeling the poem should convey, so I avoid the technicalities of the poems’ structure and let the feelings take precedence.

I have noticed that my poems relate to love, empowerment, feminism, dreams, belonging and personal identity too. The latter is as a result of my ethnicity as a Pakistani. Growing up in England, I was not Pakistani enough when I visited Pakistan and I wasn’t English enough when going about my day- to- day life in England. There were occasions when racist incidents occurred over the years, aimed at my parents, which made me question ‘belonging’ and who I was. I realise there will always be some (what I hope are) in minority groups who will always demean others based on their colour, race, religion, but what is important is that positivity remains with the belief that hate towards others because of skin will cease to exist… One day in the near future. This moves me on to hope. Sometimes my poetry sounds dreamy, my writing refers to things that may not be, but it would be wonderful if it could be.

I have always wanted to be a teacher, and this dream has been achieved. Another dream of mine was to write a poetry book. This is another dream which is drawing near completion. I am in the final stages of re-drafting and editing my book. I want to release something that I am proud of and which represents me. However, I am my greatest critic, which is why the editing change is taking alot longer than I had anticipated. Soon, I will be contacting a few publishers and then the process of book publishing will begin.

The only active social media platform I use is Instagram. I am hoping my poetry book will be out in 2019.

e speaks…

You are absolutely fascinating Sana. How has being a teacher impacted your style of writing?

Sana speaks…

Since I was young, especially a bilingual teenager, I struggled with grammar. As a result of that, I wasn’t exactly presented with opportunities to build on my skills, and develop my understanding of grammar. It is only when I decided to become a teacher that I developed a love for writing. I had to read books, which would engage the children I taught, and eventually (through teaching), I was able to teach the art of the English language. Regularly, for the last 5 years of my career, I had to write passages, either in the form of short stories, diary entries, poems as example texts to support the learning of my students. Through regular writing in lessons, and reading, I have continued to consistently write in my own time, and trial different styles of writing too.

e speaks…

How have you found your voice in the midst of life’s most difficult challenges?

Sana speaks…

I think as individuals we tend to put aside things that sometimes hurt us. We tend to pretend it never happened, or that it doesn’t affect us, when in actual fact it affects us more than we realise. Running away from certain feelings and emotions, could be considered as a way of ‘dealing’ with the problem. However, I believe it is important to address it.

I have not always felt like I had a voice, or even a voice that mattered. I have felt an inferior, and therefore overcoming this mindset has taken years. Writing has allowed me to channel thoughts freely, because when a person reads words, they read for meaning. The reader never sees a colour, race, religion in front of them, but words. Poetry provided me with an outlet to address my feelings, my experiences, and my hopes for the future. Eventually, my poetry highlighted how I had a yearning for equality.  Equality, regardless of colour. Equality, regardless of gender. Equality, across the width and breath between each fold of humanity.

e speaks…

What would you say to writers who struggle with being consistent in both writing and sharing their writing?

Sana speaks…

I would say reading is really helpful. Over time, you will realise the style of writing you like, and you will start experimenting with such a style yourself. When it comes to writing, there is no right or wrong thing–you write what you feel. You write a message you want to convey. There are stories, poems, lessons, bursting in every single one of us, and I completely believe that anyone can become a writer if they believed in themselves.

In regards to sharing writing, there are a few things I have recognised over time. It is good to share your writing on a social media platform daily, or every few days a week, as it allows new readers to reach your content. This also acts as a reminder to write too, because after all–with no written material, you can’t share writing exactly, right? Over time, your readers can share what they liked or interpreted from your writing, and eventually when it comes to publishing then you already have a ‘fan’ base.

Sharing content carries risks too. When material is shared online, there is a risk of plagiarism. Moreover, poems might be shared, but not credited to you. Sometimes readers may find inspiration from your writing, and write a poem very similar to your own, and change the odd word. These are a few drawbacks of sharing content that I have noted, as I have personally experienced them.

I think the most important thing to remember is that writing is an art. There are times you will want to share your work, other times when you will want to withhold your writing. Social media doesn’t always value art, and artists therefore followings, and likes shouldn’t detract from your love for writing. Always write for you. Write from your heart. More importantly, believe in your writing.

e speaks…

You mentioned how your best friend encouraged you to join Instagram and how encouraging comments played a role in inspiring you. How important would say community is and what are your thoughts on the Instagram Writing Community as a whole?

Sana speaks…

Encouragement is so crucial. If a person is reminded everyday of how they can succeed then this fills them with determination to achieve. The Instagram writing community has been very supportive for me, and I can’t stress how much I appreciate published writers, and poets who read my work regularly. Seeing their love, and their understanding of my content, as well as the message that underlies it, makes me smile.

e speaks…

When I learned you were writing a book I couldn’t stop smiling I was so happy! As writers, our words are our legacy. Sana, what do you want your legacy to be?

Sana speaks…

I want Pakistani women to feel that they can do whatever they want to. Cultural expectations sometimes limit women, and therefore careers can’t always be perused, which is a huge shame.

I would like my work to add to the rising growth of female BAME writers. There is an under representation of female writers from this community, and as a British Pakistani, I think it is because there haven’t been enough opportunities presented to these women. It is important that books are written from a range of perspectives, from a range of cultures and backgrounds – otherwise books become limited and restricted in a sense, and don’t offer a portal to so many other worlds, which are still going unheard today. These voices, these words, these stories are so important to be heard.

e speaks…

My heart is so full. It is brimming with joy and a deep well of gratitude to Sana and every single writer that has blessed this series. To every person who has read, shared and taken the time to support myself and those featured in this space, THANK YOU FOREVER.

Remember to visit Sana A. Rashid on Instagram by clicking here and thank me later!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Sana A. Rashid and the photographers who took the photos. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Couldn’t wait to partake in what she was serving. Extraordinary poetry. An air of mystery. Passion. Fortitude. Fire. Creativity. Transparency. Love. Lots of love. Love for life. Love for humanity. And more than anything a deep love for words.

Christina Strigas has blessed more than my social media timelines. She has breathed life into them. Reminding me it’s ok to hurt. Inspiring me to remember I deserve to heal.

Inviting me to freedom and my words to dance…sometimes on the most difficult days….

And she’s incredibly kind….

In her own words…

Christina Strigas, a trilingual, raised by Greek-Canadian immigrants, has been featured by CBC Books in “Your ultimate Canadian poetry list: 68 poetry collections recommended by you.”

Christina Strigas is an author of five novels, three poetry books, and one self-help/poetry book based off of her popular quotes that went viral on Twitter. She writes romantic love poetry in a stream of consciousness narrative prose. Her influences are Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, the Romantics, and Pablo Neruda. Christina Strigas holds a BA in English Literature from Concordia University and a Teaching Certificate from Universite de Montreal. She teaches English and French in an elementary school, and at McGill University. She created the popular @ArielPoets along with Alexandra Meehan, where they inspire writers and poets to believe in the power of poetry.

When I held Love & Vodka in my hands, I loved the feel of the book and it’s design. The font was warm and the spaces felt like safe places to rest. I could feel her heart and greatly appreciate her mind throughout each piece. I was almost brought to tears because with the turning of each page, I began to hear her voice strumming within each verse.

She spoke to me as she poured

There’s an inner strength that sustains writers that have embraced the fullness of life.

Moments lived that releases wisdom and depth…

The invitation remains and is extended to you as well. From the library of her life, Love & Vodka is just one of several offerings for the mature palate. Christina recently introduced her latest book Chrissyisms which also available on Amazon!

Be sure to show her some love by visiting her Instagram page here as well as her other sites!

You can find her on Twitter: @christinastriga

Facebook: Christina Strigas Author

Tumblr: Christina Strigas Poetry

Website: http://www.christinastrigas.com

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Christina Strigas and the photographers who took the photos. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In a time where positivity is almost trendy and catchy hashtags prevail, it’s a blessing to come across genuinely inspiring souls. Determined to streamline the at times habitual “scroll, scroll, like” syndrome of social media in my own life, I periodically reassess the accounts I follow to see what really speaks to me. Without fail, Dyon Davidson is one of the few that continue to stand out.

Some time ago I launched a mini series featuring volunteers from all over the country and I was thrilled when Dyon answered the clarion call!

Dyon Davidson is one of those gifts to humanity that God has chosen to reveal His love, strength and creativity through…and I can’t wait for you to meet her!

e speaks…

Tell me the name of the organization you volunteer for and how often do you volunteer?

Dyon speaks…

The organization that I’ve volunteered with over the past few years is Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes.  I volunteer with them once a month because they’re filling such an important need in that community.

e speaks…

What led you there?

Dyon speaks…

I was introduced to the organization’s President while I was putting together a breast cancer fundraiser. I had signed on to donate part of the proceeds to another well-known breast cancer organization. A high school classmate was very adamant about me meeting Shay Sharpe. She said Shay and I had a lot in common and would do great things together.

It was 2011 and I wasn’t diagnosed with any health issues yet. As a matter of fact, I seemed pretty healthy. I was carrying out a vision God gave me in a dream to give Breast Cancer Survivors a platform to share their stories. Shay came to the event and we clicked instantly. She invited me to her event the following week and I got to witness her and her team grant a wish for a young lady with terminal breast cancer. My heart changed forever. That young lady passed a few months later.

Each event gave Breast Cancer Survivors a platform to share their stories. I also made jewelry and auctioned it off along with other items donated by local businesses.

The events were a great combination of Beadly Speaking Jewelry and Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes doing community service together. My high school classmate was right. The crazy thing is that it took a few months for me to realize that we’d met briefly as teenagers at a football game when our high schools played each other. Life brought us back together for a reason.

e speaks…

What are some of the ways you serve?

Dyon speaks…

I organized fundraisers and raised money for the organization to help carry out their vision for 2012, 2013, and 2014. I’ve even helped pack items for the homeless over the years for annual campaigns.

e speaks…

How has dealing with your own health issues impacted your ability to serve, if at all?

Dyon speaks…

When I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2013, Shay didn’t nag me with a bunch of questions.  She understood that I was scared and trying to figure it out. She held my hand and sent me information about it. She still texts me Lupus and Sjogren’s related article from time to time. There are symptoms that gross other people out but I can talk to Shay about them. Most of the times she can relate being a young two time Breast Cancer Survivor at age 26 and 36. She has been my doctor on call, prayer partner, my chef, workout partner, and accountability partner.

It was devastating to tell the organization in 2014 that I was no longer going to do an annual breast cancer fundraiser on their behalf. I needed to focus on healing. To honor them, I donate 10% of the proceeds from my pink handmade jewelry back to them. So when customers buy any pink Beadly Speaking Jewelry, Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes receives a portion of it.

Breast Cancer and Lupus are very different but the fighting spirit in the two women, (Shay and I), they chose is the same. We are Warriors!

e speaks…

What’s been the most challenging moment?

Dyon speaks…

The most challenging moment was when Shay Sharpe was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. She was 36 years old. She’d been through it before at 26 years old. I was scared. She fought hard. Seeing her make the decision to remove her breasts was the probably the most challenging.

e speaks…

How did you overcome it?

Dyon speaks…

At the time I was newly diagnosed with Lupus and was depressed. Watching her recover and seeing her fight made me fight harder to get better. It was life changing. When she got better we challenged each other with workouts and monthly weigh-ins. We healed together. We lost the weight we gain from medication together. We extended the challenges to other Cancer and Lupus Warriors. We are still changing lives this way years later.

e speaks…

What’s been the most rewarding moment?

Dyon speaks…

The most rewarding moment happens every year at The Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes Black Tie Fundraiser. Each year the organization grants a wish of a terminally ill Breast Cancer Survivor. It usually is a surprise to that person. The organization receives hundreds of wishes each year and it warms my heart to see a wish being granted.

This year’s fundraiser is Sunday October 28, 2018. Visit www.shaysharpespinkwishes.org for further details so you too can witness this!

e speaks…

That is fantastic! Dyon what would you advise new volunteers?

Dyon speaks…

I would advise new volunteers to get involved. Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes is filling a major need for young women diagnosed with stage four breast cancer as well as helping their children when these women die. It’s fulfilling work to serve in any capacity with the organization.

e speaks…

Thank you so much for stopping by Dyon!

You can support Dyon’s movement the following sites:

@BeadlySpeaking on Twitter & Instagram

Beadly Speaking Jewelry on Facebook

http://www.etsy.com/shop/beadlyspeakingjewels

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Dyon Davidson and the photographers who took the photos. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Thorn in the Flesh

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to [a]buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I have often spoke of the beautiful connections I’ve fostered through the Instagram #WritingCommunity since joining in October 2015; but there are a few who started with me 10 months prior right here on WordPress. Min. Sean Mungin is one of them!

While appreciating each other’s similarities and respecting our differences, Sean and I have consistently supported one another’s work from the onset. I even had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on his website in August 2015 during his consecration series. My raw & very transparent piece Holiness? Have It Your Way did not in any way conform to the traditional devotional format; but Sean was gracious enough to make room for the transparency of my authenticity. His doing so within the Body of Christ, ought not be, but at times is, a rare trait.

Having had the pleasure of introducing him to my Inspiration With E radio show audience as a guest cohost last year; featuring Sean during my Faith Edition episode was most fitting. It was at that time I shared his official bio:

Sean Mungin is a public figure who has embodied the spirit of individual and corporate success. Sean graduated from Lee University in 2005 with a Bachelors in Theology. He also earned a Masters in Psychology from the University of Phoenix in 2010. He also completed the Masters in Religious Education program from the Mason Kelly Washington Religious Training in Long Island, NY. Sean was ordained as a minister in 2009 under Integrity Fellowship, Inc. (Toledo, Ohio), Bishop Daniel Johnson. He has since served in the roles of Associate Pastor (2000-2002), Youth and Christian Education Director/Youth Pastor (2006-2007) in the Palm Beach area in South Florida.

Sean began his most recent journey by relocating to the Greater New York Area in July 2010. Since relocating to New York, Sean founded The Joshua Generation Ministries on June 19, 2014 to reach the unchurched via virtual media ministry. On February 24, 2016, The Joshua Generation Ministries was officially rebranded as Sean Mungin Ministries. This move was an effort to begin to move in the new direction for 2016 and beyond. It also allowed additional room for expansion into what is now known as, Kingdom Living, SMM’s daily devotional website.

In December 2016, Sean relocated to the Greater Los Angeles area with his current employer, Carlos Lopez & Associates LLC as the Associate Director of Operations for the Greater Los Angeles area. His current positions as an administrator and minister align him with his previous positions as an individual genuinely concerned about the holistic well-being (spiritual, mental, physical, and socio-economical) of all people.

Sean is currently working on focusing on developing and implementing several entrepreneurial projects. His goal is to create multiple opportunities for a higher quality of living for all within his area of influence.

e speaks

I was thrilled to learn that Sean had released a new book entitled The Thorn In The Flesh! I was most impressed by his immediate follow through when he was thinking about self publishing. I found his tenacity, courage, preparedness and commitment to self publish very inspiring!

When I finished reading the book I turned to my husband and said, “Well done Sean, that was dope! Yo my friend’s book was goooood stuff!” Lol! I loved it.

First of all it’s not what you expect. A relatively short read The Thorn In The Flesh is an inspirational piece of fiction with plenty of twists and turns to hold your attention. Sean’s style of writing felt personable, believable and engaging. It’s a highly recommended read that I envision evolving into a series or even a screenplay!

If you’re not already familiar with Sean’s work in any capacity, I encourage you to get to know him. Currently featuring Daily Affirmations that encourages himself and gives inspiration to others; Sean speaks life into the mundane by FAITH. In a world of many an impostor, he is without a doubt the real deal. Imperfect and perfected enough in Christ to humbly recognize the fabric of his human frailty, Sean is intentional about standing in the gap for others, just as much as he strives to stand on the promises of God as his anchor.

Thanks for being here Sean! You can find Sean’s works and social media links by visiting the following:

https://kingdomlivingmagazine.org/

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Sean Mungin. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I think the most difficult conversation to start is one where we don’t know what to say. It weighs heavily on you and you know something is off but you can’t quite put your finger on it. A loved one, friend or acquaintance is struggling to cope. You notice they’re down, withdrawn, depressed or even angry all the time. You want to approach them but don’t know how. You fear opening a can of worms or saying the wrong thing…

There are times when we may notice but are too overwhelmed by our own problems to extend a helping hand.

Nothing is worse than addressing the issues after tragedy has occurred. It often causes even more distance between though who need help and those who can help.

Taking a moment to ask someone if everything is alright takes courage and there is nothing wrong with offering resources. I encourage you to keep the phone number of the National Suicide Hotline and Crisis Text Line in the note section of your phone so you can pass it along.

If loved ones or social media friends live outside the states; having the following info saved can be helpful:

The International Association for Suicide Prevention is also a great place to start.

You may know someone battling depression, self harming or engaging in maladaptive coping mechanisms. It’s important to not ignore them. When I served as a volunteer suicide crisis counselor, there were times I would get calls from people who weren’t suicidal but lonely. I can remember an influx of calls on Sunday afternoons from people who had been in church earlier that day but still felt alone. Some felt they couldn’t share with those closest to them for fear of judgment or being exposed. Isolation is crippling to someone who already feels alone. However it’s important to be lovingly honest about what you can and cannot do for them and then share resources.

Finally, guilt must be addressed.

Now perhaps you’ve already lost a loved one to suicide or know of someone who attempted. The guilt of surviving. The guilt of “was there something I could’ve said or done?”. The guilt of not keeping in touch or distancing yourself when you didn’t know how to help or when their sadness made your sadness worse. The guilt of not answering that last text or call. Not dealing with your emotions, pain, guilt or grief puts you at risk as well!

It’s ok to not be ok but don’t stay in that space. Reach out. Get help. Look for grief support groups in your area. Whatever we internalize will eventually materialize if it’s not dealt with.

You deserve healing and support too.

And also…

if someone threatens to kill or hurt themselves if you don’t stay in a relationship with them, please know that is a weight no one deserves to bear. There are genuine cries for help and then there are sordid tactics of manipulation. However to avoid misdiagnosing someone’s emotional and mental state or if you lack the ability to truly discern if someone’s in crisis: LOVINGLY OFFER RESOURCES. Direct their attention to trained volunteers and professionals who are willing to help.

I pray this piece is helpful. Won’t you share? You never know who’s going through or someone who has already gone through. Live Through This is a fascinating movement chronicling the lives of real suicide attempt survivors.

Be encouraged and remember:

As you Hold On To Life!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All photos used in this piece are the sole property of the original sources . No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’m a huge fan. There. I said it. And if you’ve not yet met her, you’ll understand why. Presenting to some and introducing to others, our Instagram Writing Community Resident Anomaly: Printed CED.

Printed CED speaks…

It’s so funny I feel like talking about myself is one my talents and one of my downfalls. I spent a lot of time just thinking about what to say about myself, how to summarize and I honestly didn’t think of anything grand. I feel like personally and professionally I’ve always struggled with the boundary of being honest, open, vulnerable and being overexposed. When I first started my Instagram page I was completely anonymous, no pictures, video, I didn’t even reveal my sex or allow those I knew to follow me. In the thin veil of mystery I felt protected, free to express my thoughts without a pre conceived notion. I certainly would not have done something like this. But I do feel that part of sharing is allowing yourself to be slightly exposed. I feel that’s where you develop true connections, so here we are.

I won’t reveal my name but many call me CED “seed”. I started writing when I was eight, it really helped me to cope growing up in troubled circumstances. I was raised in the Northwest, some of my favorite memories are writing surrounded by nature, escaping the noise and embracing my feelings. I felt safest in pen hidden away in a stack of pages… again that boundary. I was always the shy, awkward kid growing up, probably because I walked around with a journal and ate lunch in the library. Haha. But once I really started embracing who I am I was able to come out of my shell(mostly). I started sharing my work as a teenager and I was successful with it but honestly I just thought of it completely different back then. Now I see how much it’s given me and I appreciate it more. I always felt I failed to communicate and with writing I finally felt I could make myself clear and that is an incredible feeling. What was even more rewarding was finding an outlet that not only I could freely express myself but I could connect with other people that could relate to my experiences. Now that’s art.

e speaks…

I too can relate to finding that balance; often referring to myself as an extrovert with very strong introvert tendencies.

Printed CED speaks…

Glad you can relate. I definitely would never refer to myself as an extrovert but everyday I try to become more and more extroverted. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone.

e speaks…

It was great to connect a face with your poetic prowess. But what wooed you to anonymity and released you to step out of the shadows?

Printed CED speaks…

Thank you! Honestly, a lot of it was insecurity. I also wanted a safe place where I could express myself unguardedly without any predisposition. I suppose I became more comfortable with the idea of letting people closer to me. I found it easier to connect with others being a little bit more visible not to say I don’t still guard many things. I still don’t talk about my personal life such as my name or personal details but I do feel I found a better balance. Not to say there hasn’t been many successful Anonymous writers this is just something that was a natural progression for me.

e speaks…

One of the thing I’ve admired most about your writing is your ability to say so much in so few words. It’s as though you have in depth internal dialogue and methodically give the reader glimpses. It’s a gift in my opinion.

Printed CED speaks…

That is incredibly sweet and I’m humbled by your compliment, thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it described quite that way but I definitely have an internal dialogue but I’m not sure I would call it methodical. I really don’t have a writing process I just write what I’m feeling in the moment especially when I’m overwhelmed by that feeling. I’m a highly emotional person and I’m very introverted for me sharing my writing is a way to get out of my head.

e speaks…

The idea of your eating lunch in the library at so young an age speaks volumes about your charm. No food allowed yet eating there is a renegade move, yet at you were surrounded by millions of words speaking though silenced by the safety of pages. It speaks of strength to me.

Printed CED speaks…

Ha. You make it sound so beautiful but I definitely was no Renegade I was bullied a lot and I used it as an escape. I will say I never realized that those moments of feeling so weak would later make me feel strong.

e speaks…

You exude strength. When do you feel strongest?

Printed CED speaks…

Thank you, I’ll admit I don’t always feel strong. For me strength is practice, it’s the repetition of behaviors and choices. I will say over the last few years I’ve liberated myself in many ways and that has lended to my strength, just simply accepting myself and my experiences the good and the bad makes me feel stronger. Hmm as far as when I feel strongest that’s definitely when I’m writing, alone, facing my emotions and myself boldly. I feel like over the years my writing has taught me so many things about myself and allowed to better my relationship with myself. What’s been amazing is being able to share my writing and having others connect to those feelings as well. That’s the gift I think. 🙂

e speaks…

I love that you started to share your singing on Instagram! It felt like a treat! Your eyes tell a story long before you speak. Which format seems to help you express yourself best? The written word, spoken word or songs and why?

Printed CED speaks…

Thank you! Sharing my singing on Instagram has definitely been fun. I’ve always wanted to do it but I never thought I was a strong singer and honestly I still don’t but it’s fun and it’s a really satisfying way to share my work. I think music is a beautiful way to connect with others and it allowed me to connect with a whole different set of people making my reach a bit more dynamic. I love all of them! Written word spoken word and songs I couldn’t possibly pick… next I want to start exploring more visual forms of expression such a short videos with an emphasis on cinematography.

e speaks…

Congratulations on your debut book Little Obsessions and Delusions! What are a couple of your favorite pieces and why?

Printed CED Speaks…

Thank you so much, I’m excited to eventually release a full book and I’m very proud of what I’ve already released. Little Obsessions and Delusions means a lot to me. It’s hard to pick favorites but Heed and Submit are both very emotional pieces for me, sometimes my voice still shakes when I read the words because I feel so attached to them. I really found myself, good and bad at that time in my life (when I wrote them) and it’s something I’ll always be appreciative of.

e Speaks…

What would you tell the younger writer in you to do differently, if anything?

Printed CED Speaks…

I would tell the younger me to believe in myself, have faith In others and except what comes to me. 

e speaks…

An exclusive I tell you! CED thank you sooo much for sharing your truth in this space!! Be sure to get your copy of “Little Obsessions and Delusions” on Amazon everyone! I got mine!

Click here to read more of Printed CED’s work on Instagram!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Printed CED. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More than a gift to the Instagram Writing Community, Quinn B. Jones is an asset to humanity in a myriad of ways. There can be a staunch difference between what we write and what we choose to share as writers. But there is something to be said about the seasoned pen. It speaks; even when wisdom woos it to rest. Quinn however, has mastered the art of pause and press play. His writing is served to all but best appreciated by the palate of the insightful.

Quinn speaks…

I started writing poetry at the age of 14 when I found a poem that was actually addressed to someone else on my desk in my workshop class. I took the poem home and actually memorized it. I’m 42 now and poetry has become a stable in my life. Writing has pulled me out of my darkest nights and settled my heart, mind, and soul. The writing that I do now comes from a very personal place. Seeing what people go through in their daily life has made its way into my art and I draw inspiration from that. Also just an everyday conversation can be just the spark you need to create. With that being said I am a sponge of life and I return all of it to the world in my poems.

e speaks…

I am a huge fan of your writing. I love your range!

“Writing has pulled me out of my darkest nights and settled my heart, mind, and soul”. Tell me more about this. And what would you say to someone who has not yet  found that thing to pull them out of their darkest nights?

What are two of your favorite pieces that you’ve written and why?

Quinn speaks…

I am a huge fan of your writing as well. Many blessings and continued inspiration for you and all that you touch.

The first is because it speaks to the strength of all women. The woman who knows that in a heartbeat she can stop time just by walking into a room, and for a man to recognize that is seeing his own power being sucked out of him cause no matter how powerful that man is he is not stopping that foward progress of any woman.

The second poem is more of a story that shows death and the many reactions to it but from the side of the person that is gone…rather it be suicide or natural, those topics have to be brought to light. Also seeing how much hurt one can cause by thinking “If I wasn’t here”…Im here to say if you don’t want you here, I want you here, so please live for me.

e speaks…

Have you considered writing an autobiography? You strike me as a writer with so much more to say…

Quinn speaks…

I have alot to say, but I want it to be able to get the attention of people who really need it. I didn’t have anyone at certain times in my life who understood me and I want to let everyone know that they can hold my hand in and at anytime.

I am working on a Poetry autobiography…it will be called “1976” for the year I was born. It’s going to be very personal and dig up many things that I need to get out and actually see from a different view myself.

e speaks…

A perfect gentleman from day one; I have great respect for you and admire the way you carry yourself online. As an African American woman I salute you as an African American man of excellence! Do you feel there is a greater sense of responsibility? Has it ever crossed your mind?

Quinn speaks…

Being an African American writer crosses my mind with every word that I write down. I will forever be know as a writer but because America has to put a title with every single thing to make sure lines don’t get blurred or their history doesn’t get trampled I will also go down as an African-American Writer. But there is a silver lining in that…I used to did not see it. That silver lining gives me the privilege to stand with some of the greatest writers that are African-American…Maya Angelou, W. E. B Du Bois, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Counted Cullen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, to let me know I’m not on this stage alone it’s beautiful to be reminded of such strength in a time when all they think we can do is be criminals. But my writing(s) include everyone, we all cry, we all have emotion and we all have a heart. Even if I’m never on that plateau of those greats I guarantee that I’ve inspired at one person.

e speaks…

I was talking to another writer about the beauty of community and how important it is to have support. Tell me a little bit about your support network and how the role it’s played in your life; both personally and professionally as an author.

Quinn speaks…

There is nothing greater than community it’s bonds and binds like a glue. Community keeps you writing. From a personal aspect it gives you and your art life. There are days when you can read my poetry and know that I’m arguing with someone or that me and my wife just made love or that I am going through a personal feeling of a rush of emotions. All of that is encompassed in my art, you may have to read between the lines a couple of times but trust me…it’s there.

As far as professionally, everyone keeps me on my toes. To seeing where these words, My words can take not only me but people that I see I can help make it to the next level. I get excited when I see a new writer come to Instagram and they have that fire to lead a whole new generation of writers, creatives, and artist.

e speaks…

I follow both of your Instagram pages and the content and formats are completely different on each. You seem to be a limitless reservoir of words Quinn! What influenced your decision to create another poetry account?

Quinn speaks…

The funny thing about that is my first account is on my tablet. Now my job at the time didn’t have great WiFi so I was stuck  with writing all these ideas but just as you said it was completely different from what I was sharing on my tablet. I get the grand idea to make one on my phone. I thought that not a single person would even think about liking let alone reading even more of my poetry but here we are two trivia pages of art one that is great in exposure and another that is great at being personal. But it is not because of me at all. As I said I’m not up here alone.

e speaks…

Absolute perfection Quinn thank you for being here! Thou rockest!! If you want to see and support more of Quinn’s work, his books (The Angel Room, Opal Remains and The Chronicles of Hurt) are available on Amazon!

https://www.instagram.com/quinnbjones_just_poetry

https://www.instagram.com/quinnbjones_just_poetry_2

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Quinn B. Jones. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

September is the awareness month for both of the causes closest to my heart! Suicide Prevention AND Alopecia Awareness! Visit www.naaf.org for more info and click here to read our daughter’s story of Alopecia Areata entitled “A Smile Big Enough To Cover The Pain”.

New here? | Welcome New Faces!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Images via Pinterest- no copyright infringement intended.

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Images via Pinterest- no copyright infringement intended.