Hi! L.G. here!
The winner of the August Challenge, LONG SHADOW, joins us today. This is the second challenge in a row Toi Thomas has won, and it's no wonder. Her words are powerful and poignant.
Take it away, Toi!
Reading and Writing
to Cope- Still Waiting for Hope
12 years ago, I had no idea I wanted to be a writer.
It's true that throughout my life I've always written in
some way or another, but it was never something I thought I needed or wanted to
pursue. Then one day, I began to find myself writing- being fueled by emotions.
Going through a tough time, those words begin to help me. I was fortunate at
the time that the things I wrote ended up being the first novel I ever
published. While that novel isn't available to the public right now, pending a
rewrite, at the time it was the most important thing in my life. Now don't get
me wrong, my family and my faith have and always will always come first, but
writing is what helps me keep the life- the clarity of mind- I've always had.
It's not just writing either. I've always been a fan of
reading, though there was a time that I stopped reading due to the pressures of
mandatory reading. Once I got over and past that, reading became part of my
life again and just like writing it helped to soothe me- to help keep the
balance and clarity I needed. Sometimes that means reading my Bible or reading
devotionals but for me, mostly, it's fiction that really impacts and embraces
I become overwhelmed by the things people are able to
imagine in their minds- things that are many times clearly inspired by reality,
whether that reality is good or bad, fair or terrifying, fiction has always
been that thing that has helped me cope.
I have been struggling lately. I'm not even sure if “struggle”
is the right word but it's the one that I have for right now. I am living
through a time that history has continued to repeat, and it breaks my heart
daily. I live in a world where someone who looks like me can die at any moment
if they piss-off the wrong person with skin lighter than ours. It breaks my
heart that other people don't, or refuse to, see the Injustice of the world
that we live in. It breaks my heart that people don’t, or refuse to,
acknowledge their privilege and acknowledge the brutality that others have to
face every day.
People of color, especially black people in the U.S., live
in fear. Because of the color of our skin, the police will shoot us instead of
talking to us or offering us due process. We don't get to walk out of our
houses and tell someone to leave us alone if they're bothering us. No, instead,
we get to keep our mouths shut, we get to hold our heads down, and we get to
pray that we make it home every day.
So, these are the things that I have been reading about.
These are the things that I have been writing about. These are the things that
I have been trying to cope with. So many people right now are focused on the
horrifying pandemic that we're all dealing with, but for me, the pandemic is
the least of my worries. Dying from covid-19 doesn’t scare me- it’s preventable.
Having a headlight go out scares me because I could get pulled over by a cop
and be killed for being the wrong color.
So, these are my words. I write them to help me cope- still
waiting for hope.
My latest release: Why Are You Afraid?
There’s no easy way to explain racism, especially to young kids, but the sooner kids learn the truth, the better they can combat it and work to help make changes.
This is a light, yet serious, story about perceptions. This
book was written to help parents start the race conversation with their
children, whatever their race or skin color may be.
Toi Thomas is a geek-girl, vinyl collector, chocoholic, movie buff, animal lover, avid reader and reviewer, blogger, vlogger, and an indie author of children's books, fiction, and nonfiction. Find Toi online at the following links.
Website- The ToiBox of Words
Facebook- Toi Thomas
Website- Lit Carnivale