Monday 21 September 2020

#WEPff #WINNER of the AUGUST Challenge LONG SHADOW! Toi Thomas Guest Post: Reading and Writing to Cope-Still Waiting for Hope

 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 me.

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.

Amazon link


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

YouTube- Toi Thomas

Facebook- Toi Thomas Author

Twitter- @ToiThomas

Website- Lit Carnivale

YouTube- Carnie the Bookworm

Instagram- @CarnieTheBookworm

Thank you so much for the guest post Toi, and congratulations once again for your win for LONG SHADOW!

Our next challenge is almost here! Please get your thinking caps on for GRAVE MISTAKE. The first post will go up on October 1st. Have your entries ready by October 21st-23rd. Once again, we will be practicing WEP-Lite.

L.G. for the team:


@ToiThomas #WEPLONGSHADOW  #WEPwinner #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPLONGSHADOW  #WEPwinner Reading and Writing to Cope #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPLONGSHADOW  #WEPwinner  Reading and Writing to Cope-Still Waiting for Hope #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge


  1. Hey Toi. So poignant are your words. They always speak to my heart. We can only pray and hope that equality will become the norm in societies around the world. We all look on in horror at the things happening in the US but most every society has some form of inequality/racism. Australia has its unfortunate history with its First People. And so forth. We must close the gap. It is our earnest hope.

    Congratulations again on your tremendous piece of winning writing.

    1. It's odd that you mentioned that. I just had a conversation about the injustces in Australia with someone over the weekend to stress the point that this isn't just a U.S. issue. Since the U.S. is where I live, this is the place that comes to the forefront of my mind. I recall people saying how they want to move to Canada whenever something in the States doesn't go the way they want, but for a black person, I don't think there is anywhere we can move where we won't have to fight the same battles at this time in history.

    2. And that is a huge problem if you don’t feel safe anywhere. :-(

  2. Your words make me cry. So many of us wish we could right the wrongs, but we too, feel powerless. I hold only one kernel of hope and that's for the upcoming election. While we still have a LONG way to go, even if the results are good, well, I have to believe we will get there. I'm praying that you too find a new path to hope!

    "The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope . . . While there is yet time, return, and lose not thy chance."

    Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words 21

    Keep writing! For your words do give hope to others!

  3. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement, Yolanda. It really means alot.

  4. Oh Toi.
    I read this. Thought about it. And read it again.
    I am so very sorry that you and so many others are condemned to live with fear.
    And hope, fervently, that small steps have been taken in the right direction and that strides will follow. In your country and in the world. As Denise says, Australia wrestles with similar issues. Or should be wrestling with them, pinning them down and defeating them.
    And I am so glad that your writing muse has you firmly in her clutches. Glad for you, and glad for me. Your writing ALWAYS moves me.

    1. Thank you for your words and your encouragement. This is a global issue and my heart breaks for injustices all over the world.

  5. Always powerful, heartfelt and moving. It's not just USA or Australia. Inequality has a history worldwide, and has been growing at an alarming rate, enabled by autocratic leaders. Marginalised people are everywhere while the elites sit back at best and line their own pockets at the underprivileged's expense at worse. The entire world seems to be at a breaking point. It is my earnest hope that right thinking people will move things forward to level the field.

    Congratulations again on your winning writing.

  6. Thank you for your words. I believe that right thinking people are out there trying to make a difference, I just don't know if it's enough. We need the "others" to change the way they think, or else we'll continue to have to fight for rights that should, frankly, belong to everyone.

  7. This was an outpouring of emotions, heartbreaking in its sincerity. Great post, Toi.

  8. Your post is thoughtful as always. The injustices of the world must be addressed, but so many people refuse to see them or do anything to change them. The world as a whole has a terrible problem with inequality, and I find hope when I see people working together to change things for the better.

  9. Yes, we live in a broken world that didn't start out that way. I hope we are able to mend it in my lifetime, but if not, I hope the next generation does better.

  10. Reading your heartfelt post Toi chilled me to the bone and was a tragic reminder of the world of injustice and inequality we live in. I wish it were different and hope there will be a time in the future (not too distant, I hope) when the situation will be more balanced and people understand how deep their privilege is and the reality of life for those who don't have that.

  11. Great post. I'm brown (Native American) and I feel your fear. I've been attacked more than once. It's funny because I'll go into the forest for long stretches of time, and people will ask me things like "Isn't that dangerous? Aren't you afraid of (wolves, bears, snakes, etc)?" And I just shake my head no. Of the scars on my body, the vast majority are man-made.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I wrote a piece once on the injustices done to Native Americans inspired by someone asking me if their were any still around. It made me angry. When people forget you exist or ignore your plight, that's when people get killed and no justice is ever served.

  12. Toi,

    What a powerful, thought-provoking post. I recently went through an experience where I discovered that sometimes less words are more effective than more words. In this short post, you've masterfully captured the sentiments of many hearts and minds, including mine.

    1. I'm glad to hear it. As much as I don't wish heartache on anyone, it's comforting to know others feel the heartache I feel right now.

  13. Toi I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things. As a white writer she struggled with whether she had the right to write it. It took 20 years to percolate and I think she’s done a great job in digging down to the base load of the white supremist movement. If you read it, I’d welcome your opinion.

    1. Thank you for the recommendation. I'll check it out.

  14. Hugs Toi. Another heartfelt post. I can only try to understand how it must feel like. We live in hopeless times and the world already seems to be in shambles. Not enough words to describe how it feels. Power to your pen, my friend.


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