Sometimes our energy flags and we need a boost: a shot of adrenalin-fueled, dangerous, and even explosive writing to get our creative juices flowing again. When you find yourself at low tide on the energy front, here’s my advice: Go find some exciting young authors and listen to them talk about writing: Just listening to them will get you pumped and passionate about tackling the page. Guaranteed!
Luckily, I had the chance to get an energy shot tonight from two dynamic and talented authors and actors who gave new meaning to the phrase “performance art” with their enthusiasm and talent: Elijah M. Brown and Jamal Tyson Hinnant.
These two young men are educators, poets, playwrights, and performers. They’ve cowritten and starred in a play called manUp the Play and they rock the house with their poetry performances at festivals and book fairs. Elijah is the author of several books of poetry; his most recent is called In Two Weeks… because he set himself the challenge of writing it in two weeks. He teaches high school, runs programs to encourage kids to express themselves through writing, and if that isn’t enough, has started a publishing company called Let It Flow Publishing. Jamal is an educator, actor, creator of a nonprofit to encourage young people to pursue poetry, and the author of a book of short stories and poetry called Encore put out by Let It Flow Publishing. He’s a gifted storyteller and entertainer, but more than that, he’s also a powerful motivator. Some gems from their sparkling presentation:
“I really began writing when a girl broke my heart. I wrote 20 poems in three days. Poetry is my life. When I first released my book, it was so compelling.” Elijah Brown
“I fell in love with words: I was introduced to Robert Frost in the fourth grade — and I fell in love. I wrote out of pain. Honestly speaking, I think I would have committed suicide if it wasn’t for poetry, if I didn’t have my pad and pen…I love listening. I love performing. I love writing.” Jamal Hinnant
“It can take a week, an hour, a month to write a poem. A line, a phrase, a thought, a quote can inspire it.” Elijah Brown
“You can’t buy the drive, the will to go out and do the work…You have to have this fire inside you that says you have to go on and then you have to turn up the gas… There’s a time limit on your dream — and the time is now. Every day you don’t do it, you’re time is expiring on your dream…You have to just keep it in front of you, keep the fire in front of you, and keep putting your work out.” Jamal Hinnant
“Follow your passion because it won’t let you down.” Elijah Brown
What a gift to hear these gifted, enthusiastic young men talk about their love of words: how words saved them, consoled them, and gave them the freedom to express themselves, to be themselves, to become themselves. Bravo, Elijah and Jamal! To learn more about them, visit: http://www.manuptheplay.com. And write on!