FRESH TAKE FRIDAY IS A BI-MONTHLY SERIES SPOTLIGHTING CREATIVES OF COLOR AND THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON CREATIVITY, POSITIVITY AND GETTING SH*T DONE. I'D LIKE TO PRESENT TO SOME AND INTRODUCE TO OTHERS, AUTHOR AND POET FLOSE BOURSIQUOT .
Your first published body of work "Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe" encourages readers to embrace the moment of pause and to reflect on now before moving forward. What was your process in putting together this book, and how much more did you learn about yourself both personally and creatively? What does a moment of "pause" look like for you?
FB: Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe is not only a reminder to take in the moment and move forward, but also one that constantly engages with the side of me that says “I can’t.” The process for putting #CYENB together started about a year and a half before its publishing date. When I compiled all the poems that I thought I wanted in the book I had about 200 pieces, eventually I edited down to the 67 that are in the book. There’s also a short, short story, the first few chapters of a working novel, and a poem on the back cover. Besides editing, I had a strong support system there reminding me why I made the decision to publish.
CYENB has taught me that I am full of greatness. There’s still a lot that I have not figured out and there’s plenty to learn, but this book provided me with the confidence to keep writing and sharing my work. The most critical lesson I’ve learned from this process is that not everyone will like my work and that is okay. A close friend and fellow writer, Joshua Everett, helped me understand that. Since then, I keep reminding myself, Beyonce is not for everyone. I’m not on Bey's level yet, but its a reminder that perfection isn't a true standard although that's what I'll always strive for.
My moment of pause happens somewhere out in nature. Since I live in South Florida, it usually involves taking a walk to the beach and wading in the water. Once I'm deep enough, I begin to speak what I am grateful for as the water moves me. I'm not a great swimmer so I don't walk very far, but I get in deep enough to feel the power of the ocean. I do that until I run out of things to say then I begin to speak things that I'd like God/the Universe to make way for in my life.
In the CYENB promo, you speak to how it is okay to be vulnerable and to share our feelings with one another. As a poet and a writer, has there ever been time when you felt hesitant or doubtful about sharing your vulnerability? And if so, how did you overcome that fear? What would be your advice for other millennial writers who may be faced with the same feeling?
FB: Absolutely. Discussing my sexual trauma is something that took me years to do. Poetry has been that outlet for me since elementary school, but none of that content has been public until now. I overcame the fear and shame because my trauma is part of my story in the same way my battle with anxiety is. I want to speak on those things and do because there are other people who have experienced abuse who need to know that there is a place for them in this world. There are young people especially who are struggling with shame who need to know that they will be okay and that shame is not theirs to own.
My advice to anyone who wants to tell their story is - just do it. There are people out there who don't feel a desire to publicly share their experiences in this life, good or bad, that's okay. But if you are one of those folks, like me, who has a desire to share with the hope of learning more about your own humanity and that of others, do it. CYENB has made it comfortable for parents to come up to me and say, "My child is struggling with this and I purchased your book for them." CYENB has made it comfortable for friends of mine to message or call me and say, "I never knew and here's my story." That's powerful and I cherish those moments of shared humanity so much.
In a 'perfect' world, what does a day of productivity look like to you? What tools are you using to get sh*t done, and what are major distractions you do you best to avoid?
FB: I want to answer the second question first because my major distraction is so real -- social freakin' media. So, if I want to get anything serious done, I have to physically remove my phone from reach or give myself markers. Like, Flose, if you focus on this retreat application for two hours, you can go on Twitter for 15 minutes. It's kind of sad, but I do love my social media.
In a "perfect" world a day productivity looks like me waking up naturally, without my usual three or four alarms. Having a glass of room temperature water, meditation, maybe a walk, and some early morning writing. Right now it would entail getting to my office by 8:30 AM. Once I get off around 5 PM, it would mean coming home to lose myself in writing. I'm still working on my second manuscript so I crave real time to crank out some good stuff!
When you find yourself in a rut, (emotionally or creatively) what are some things that you do change your mood? Who (or what) do you turn to for encouragement, and how do you persevere, even when you may want to remain stuck in your feelings?
FB: If I'm emotionally overwhelmed, I cry. Creatively, I write. Like, if I'm trying to get something out and its not turning out right, I keep writing through it. If I'm in a serious creative rut, I get away from the piece. I'll go for a walk or maybe watch a TV show or something.
I also have a core group of friends who keep me encouraged. I know it's important to find internal motivation, but I'm definitely one of those people who does better when she's being checked. I'm also super competitive so if someone is like I'll give you five Swedish Fish if you write for two hours, I'll do it!
There are times when I stay stuck in my feelings. To be honest, if I get to that place, I crawl inside of myself. I deal with it by crying, writing, listening to music or maybe taking myself out for a walk. As much as I am an outwardly positive person, when I'm down, I have to just let myself get through it.
How would you describe your 'fresh take' on creativity? What keeps you inspired to develop new ideas and collaborate with other creatives?
FB: A mix of imagination and engagement with the world inspires my "fresh take." There's a piece in my second book titled, Career, and in it I talk about my job being life. Living boldly and following my urges is what inspires new material. For example, traveling to Central America for two weeks or picking up a job at an Internist's office, new experiences keep my fire burning. When I get bored, I don't create as much.
As far as collaborating with other creatives goes, I love being around people and engaging with them. It's something I've desired as long as I can remember, so when the opportunity to collaborate creatively with other folks presents itself, I go for it. There's always much to be learned about our humanity and this world when we engage with others.