Imagine going after a dream/vision to the point where you found yourself living out of your car for six years. Tough, right?
Imagine holding on when no one seemed to want to invest in that dream/vision. Being so singularly purposed that you would not let go until you`ve quenched the desire…no, force that propelled you forward in spite of the odds stacked against you.
Now if you`ve seen a couple of shows of Oprah while she still had her talk-show or even viewed one of her episodes on OWN, you`d know she`s a great Tyler Perry supporter. She`s the one who brought his personal story to the forefront and showed the world, it wasn`t just adversity in terms of film making he had to overcome, but also some gritty personal demons. He`s become a spokesperson on child abuse and encouraging men to speak up on molestation. His life story reads like a Pulitzer Prize and all you`re able to do is take your hat off to someone who have done more than merely survive but also made a success of their lives by holding onto an unwavering faith and hope, in God and to see their dreams fulfilled.
Now movie-wise I`m well acquainted with his Madea franchise both in film and on-stage, I love the humour and high-stakes drama and how with his vision, Tyler Perry had filled a gap in the African-American movie market that reached even across the ocean to little old me in SA.
I wondered, if he had given up, threw away all his plays, gave up on a career in the film industry, where would Tyler Perry be right now? (Probably not in his car 🙂 ) If he had let the fire die out, chucked in and adhered to convention, the world would be missing a unique perspective.
As a writer this is important to me. Life stories like Perry`s is significant to me. You`ll find that before you can ‘sell’ your, writing/stories to the world, you first have to ‘sell’ it to yourself.
Recently I bumped into someone, an old colleague, she asked me what I`ve been busy with and I was kind of reluctant to tell her. For some reason I didn`t feel like sharing my writing with her. My mother was with me and like all mothers, she`s extremely proud of her kids achievements *rolls eyes*, so she tells this colleague about my book coming out this month. And when the colleague asked how she could find it, my mother again volunteered details.
I walked away from the experience a little shaken, because 1) her cynicism was obvious even to a blind person 2) I`m not prone to divulging information on my writing to people who`ve not been with me on the writing journey (and even then I tend to not give too much info) and 3) I simply didn`t feel like being judged *smile*
Yeah, people can say what they want but they don`t view ‘author’ as a career unless you`re on a Best Sellers list, success translates money and status, so anything before that, when you`re living in your car for six years you are a…failure. Of course no one would call Tyler Perry that *snort laughs* After all he made it. But what about those who are still transitioning? Who`s still climbing the mountain?
I walked away from the brief encounter wondering why…why again, did I let this wall of cynicism get under my skin. And this was what I came up with. I questioned my choices, career path, especially when others point at the obvious holes.
Someone said to me a couple of months ago, when I showed them the cover of my 1st release, an e-book, she`d only consider the book a ‘real’ book, when she got to hold it in her hands *shakes head* To someone who`ve spent months writing and self-editing, months pitching their book to publishers and then months on gruelling edits with a professional editor, while the rest of the world still went on, believe me, you come out of it knowing you`ve created a real book, no matter what format it first gets released in.
Incidents like this, probably plagued Perry`s life too, people who ignore the hard work and go straight for the jugular for reasons only they know, yet still he persisted, he stood alone on his hill, faced the mountain and decided to climb in spite of them.
I`ve come to this conclusion since facing my questions and hope that it would mean something to an aspiring author.
It`s okay to have doubts, everyone has them. It`s okay to question yourself, all great historians, inventors and leaders have done that. It`s okay to be afraid of your dream/vision because it`s so big, you`re not sure you`d achieve it. It`s okay to agree with ‘the other side’ when they say your book isn`t a ‘real’ book until they can buy it from a bookstore at their local mall, because you also want to see your book in a bookstore at your local mall. It`s okay. It`s -okay.
Everyone questions …it`s called being human.
What I would add is this: Don`t let them…the doubt, the fear, the inability to find answers quickly…take it (your dream) from you. We all have aspirations in life, to kill someone`s because you`re unable to see a way to them, is beyond evil to me (yes there is such a thing).
You`re unique, as cliché as that sounds, you are. Not everyone wants or needs the same things from life. Decide what you can`t live without, decide what you`re willing to endure for what you want in life, the sacrifices you`re willing to make and unapologetically live with them.
And that`s my final words :)Find your Tyler Perry life story.