Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
 print preview

Ancestral and Maternal Connection as Creative Forces

A lot of my writing process comes from simply sitting and observing. As an introvert, I’ve always preferred watching people to engaging with them, listening to the cadences and accents in their voices and any tics or oddities in their body language. I jot down interesting lines of dialogue that I hear, and I have a dedicated list in my phone for my observations of what people are wearing or doing that I found fascinating and would like to fictionalize at some point.

My writing also comes from a sense of ancestral connection. I write for the generations of women who preceded me who didn’t have the opportunity or the words to tell the stories that they may have wanted to. As a black woman, too, there is always a sense of obligation, one that invokes a need to highlight injustices or past traumas or to deconstruct stereotypes. As a black American, that obligation is coupled with a sense of loss—of identity and culture and namesake—and how that can be regained, or whether it should be at all.

Ultimately, though, my main inspiration comes from mother-daughter relationships. They have always fascinated me, and a lot of what I draw on when I write about them is my own relationship with my mom, who was seventeen and only about twenty-seven weeks pregnant when I was born. As I get older, the idea of youth and motherhood, the incredibly internal connection between mother and child, the potential emptiness in a person after carrying an entire human being inside of them and how that may tie into ancestral connections, or even generational trauma, have all become fascinating subjects for me because there is so much to unpack and so many ways to do so.

I write because I can, because I like to, and because the writing of others has propelled me through life in my worst moments, and I hope to pay it forward in some minuscule way.  

return to top