“Live free or die!” This was the mantra that I often uttered mindlessly in my twenties, without fully appreciating what these words really mean. Back then my youthful arrogance made me feel invincible. I was ready to take on the world head-on, with an unrepentant, rebellious spirit that uncompromisingly sought challenge. I was eager to cast off the constraining chains of conformity and unleash my creative, iconoclastic forces. I thought I had it all figured out, yet in earnest I had hardly made more than a few baby steps in the world. I barely knew my left from my right, yet I had the audacity to think I could change the world.
Now, some twenty years further, my perspective has evolved considerably, yet I still feel the burning call to change the world. Rather than fading away, it has in fact grown stronger, nurtured and reinforced by my experiences, good and bad, as I have ventured out into the “real” world. I believe that through my writing I have a golden opportunity to make an impact on a large scale. Not only in the present but also in the future. Long after my body has retutrned to dust my writings will live on and will have potential to influence many generations to come. For this reason I take my responsibilty as a writer very seriously. I am much more careful now about the message(s) which I share with the world.
My upcoming historical fiction novel, Children of the Ocean God, is a prime example of this. It is for me more than just a literary endeavor or a means to honor my ancestors or about telling a story about Black resistance to European hegemony. All of these reasons are certainly part of my motivation, however, it is so much more than that. I want to convey a message which captures my raison d’être on this Earth. For me that is the ultimate, higher goal that I seek in my art. This is the creative feedom which I need to live, and for which I am prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. Now, I am mindful of what is meant by the slogan “Live free or die!” and I will unapologetically continue to use it to express myself. For it is better to die standing than to live on your knees! Soli Deo Gloria.
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