Last night I had dinner with a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in about three or four years. The circumstances of our meeting each other are really funny, but I won’t go into it. I will just say, as a result of our conversation(s) I invited her to visit a writers’ group that I am a member of, BWWP (Black Writers With Purpose). She joined and happily attended several meetings. There was no doubt that she enjoyed herself, and that the camaraderie motivated her to write. During National Poetry Writing Month one year, she even participated in a Poetry Café with me at a local alternative school.
As I was getting to know her I visited her home and even got to know her two sons, the youngest of which is autistic. I admired how driven she was to aid her son in living the best possible life. I appreciated that she nurtured and encouraged her oldest son’s natural talents, and that she insisted he work hard for what he wanted. As a writer, I loved that she dealt with the difficulties in her life by writing. That is what we share in common, and the fact that she is Nigerian and my paternal family’s origin is West African.
The circumstances of our reconnecting are also noteworthy. A couple of weeks ago I decided to send an email about the re-release of my book, Every Time I Close My Eyes, to all of my Yahoo contacts. Low and behold, shortly after doing so I receive a call from my long lost cohort. She decided to use the last known number she had for me after she received the email, and the rest is history.
I was glad our paths had once again crossed because as a woman, a person, I’ve learned so much from her. I’m moved by her knowledge of all things African (that may just speak to my ignorance of Africa). I could sit and listen to her talk about Nigeria, as well as other African cultures, for hours. We won’t even talk about the food that she has prepared for me the times that I’ve visited her home. I love that after all of these years, I visit her and her oldest son, who is back from France, where he graduated from college, is no longer a mature, responsible, teenage boy, but a very handsome, astute, well-balanced, college educated young man. I was marveled by the fact that her youngest son is speaking, that he plays the drums, is a whiz on the computer and all things technical. I respect that she raised him as a “normal” child, but along the journey learned all that she could about autism so that she could make sure her son would have a “normal” life. That was not all that had changed. She is now a married woman. I thought that would change the dynamics of our visit, but it didn’t, he’s a great guy.
After cocktails, and then dinner, we settled down in her family room and we talked. We talked about writing and all the things that happened in our respective lives that led us to become writers, and the things that continue to facilitate that desire. I’m excited that I’m going to be a part of her publishing experience (she will be published this year). I know, with all that has transpired in her life the last few years, seeing her words published will add a new dimension to her life. I’m hoping it will fulfill her lifelong dream of being a published author and fuel a desire to write more. I’m still excited for myself, but even more so for her because I know well the feeling of accomplishment and pride after birthing a book that is quality through and through. All I can say now is I hope she’s excited, too.