Me with Sapphire in Feb 2013.  Photo by Nancy Livingston

Me with Sapphire in Feb 2013. Photo by Nancy Livingston

One of the most wonderful things about life is the pleasant surprises.  When I started writing for The Century TimesI never dreamed of the extraordinary opportunities that would come my way.  One of those opportunities came when I volunteered to cover Sapphire‘s  visit to Century College.  For those that may not know, Sapphire is the author of Push, which the movie, “Precious” was based on, and more recently, The Kid.  

I couldn’t help but think of what a wonderful experience I was about to embark upon!  When would a college student such as myself get another chance to interview a New York Times National Bestselling Author????  My goal is to have success as a writer, to give others a voice in order to help them, and to be on bookshelves throughout the world.  I couldn’t believe I was going to be able talk to her, as a writer, almost as if we were peers, and gain knowledge from someone who has achieved some of their dreams with their writing.

The event was amazing.  I cannot express in mere words what it was like to listen to Sapphire speak.   It was powerful, riveting, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  She started out reading a couple of Jayne Cortez poems.  I had never heard of Jayne Cortez until that day, but I was so moved by her poetry that I have begun to read much more of her work!

She also discussed things most people do not have the courage to talk about.  Things such as child molestation, prison rape, physical abuse, domestic abuse, verbal abuse, sexuality, and HIV.  She told the audience that it was her job as an artist to “refuse to look away.”  Sapphire also acknowledged that her work is harsh, difficult to read, and intense, but she also states that she is “not here to make you feel good.”  She adds humor by saying, “I’m not your massage therapist.”

I learned a lot from attending the event.   She inspired me.  She mentioned that the purpose of her books is to get people to sit up and take action.  It worked.  I have vowed to use my writing for giving others a voice, no matter whose it is or where it comes from.  My writing will not always be “fluff.”  It is my job as a writer and as a human being who cares about others to use my words to help others, to spur others into action.

Next time you read something that appalls you, ask yourself why.  You might be amazed at what you come up with.

My interview with Sapphire was more than I could have asked for.  She was so wonderful and easy to talk to, she was down to earth, and she had a very formidable presence at times.  By formidable, I mean that she had this powerful energy; it draws you in, it makes you want to hear more.  I was in awe of her.  I asked her questions that I was hoping she hadn’t been asked a million times.  We spent about 10 minutes talking and it flowed very well.  I appreciated her candor and the fact that she took time out of her schedule (I know they had her on a tight one!) to answer my questions fully and genuinely.

At the end of my experience, I came away with so much more than I could have ever thought possible.  I learned so much from my time spent at the event and interviewing Sapphire.  It’s something I will take with me for many years to come and I hope others were equally inspired by her visit!

If you are interested in checking out the article I wrote about the event, you can click on this link: