Ashe – A Real Writer By Guest Blogger Karen Simpson

 

Tru Story Exclusive: Back by Popular Demand

PlaytrainsPlease accept this invitation to tune in for an exclusive series about real-life leaders, both personal and professional, that will share their own testimonies of how they made their dreams into reality. In explicit detail, these Tru Story guests will document the every day contributions to their own journey.

This is the second entry in the Tru Story Exclusive series, written by guest blogger, Karen Simpson. In her guest blog entry, Karen shares how she started as ‘a real writer’ by entering a writing contest at the local community college. “I set into motion, the full power of my dream,” she writes. That dream is now alive and well with the award-winning novel, Act of Grace.

 “Imagine your ideals, then make them real.”
A Direct Quote From My Fortune Cookie, Oriental Express, 1 p.m. Lunch, Monday, August 22, 2011
AsheA Real Writer
I think I truly began my journey toward becoming a writer 25 years ago in 1987. I was 33 years old, ten years into a dead end job, and still not sure where I was going in my life. The only thing I was sure about, was I wanted to be a writer, however, that seemed like a Don- Quixote-dream like goal that only other smarter, prettier and more imaginative people could achieve. Real writers didn’t look like me, I thought. And besides – what were the odds I had any real talent?
But then I had the wordy itch and finally it occurred to me that I at least needed to try and scratch it just once. One evening I went to an event at a local community college and saw a poster for the school’s literary journal, Northern Spies. They were requesting submissions so I sat down and, over the next two weeks, composed an essay about my grandfather. To my delight and surprise, Northern Spies accepted my little essay. There was a fancy reception and reading for those whose work they published. I remember being nervous as I got up in front of a small but appreciative crowd to read:

The Nature of Happiness.

On this winter day with cold so deep one could call the sun a liar, I have made my heart and archaeologist and sent it to sift through my past; down, down, down to the thin layer of subconscious matter that contain the faint images I have of my grandfather, who died when I was young.
Most of my memories of the Reverend Dr. John Van Catledge are created from my mother’s lore, but because he was what I wish to become -scholar, writer, teacher most of what I understand about my grandfather flows from my small collection of his photographs and written works. Few photographers caught his smile. Some might say he had no love for the camera. To me, however, he embodied the African and African belief that constant smiling denotes a lack of seriousness, sincerity and character. What the Yoruba defined as ashe, a spiritual wisdom is what my grandfather projected with his calm eyes and sealed lips.
No, he had no mirth for cameras to steal, but his written work revealed a scholar’s joy of learning, a writer’s hope filled vision of life. There is one splendid letter he wrote to my mother about the nature of happiness. It is this letter I open now because today melancholy is too good a friend, contentment seems a distant rumor, and the sun still is a shameless liar. I will read myself well and whole again.
http://ochanilele.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/cropped-ashe.jpg

I didn’t know it back then, but the word, Ashe literally means “ it is so”,or “may it be so.” I believe now that when I wrote that word down and then said it aloud up at the podium. I set into motion, the full power of my dream.

Ashe…it was so, and I am now the author the award winning novel Act of Grace.

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