Every author has a sense of purpose that propels their thinking, brainstorming, and eventual documenting of sentences and phrases. For Jamaican author Andre L. Simpson, the actual thoughts are what motivates him to write and create for publication. A 37-year-old resident of Kingston, he has written two novels to date, is currently finalizing his third book, and is also working towards completing his fourth. In addition to his fiction composition, his "Higher Thinka" brand of quotes and inspirational writings is naturally developing, simultaneously.
In his early twenties, Andre went through a period where he consumed a great amount of novels--American urban fiction in particular. Captivated by the power of the written word, the complexities of the stories, and the passion with which the writers created their works, he became inspired by the art form and a curiosity formed. He started to believe that he, too, could record his thoughts and develop characters and scenarios that could be used as learning experiences and conversation pieces for readers. And so with his love for reading, grew a love for writing. Andre wanted to leave his mark, the way the authors had left their mark.
"I'm an 80s baby," said Andre. "I get musical inspiration mostly from 90s and early 2000s reggae, hip hop, and even some alternative music." Taking in the written word, in addition to lyrical compositions from artists like Nas and Baby Cham, also provided fuel for Andre as a younger man. He became fascinated with using the medium of literature as a way to reach wide audiences and display his own versatility as a writer.
As he constructed his story lines and characters for novels High Rollaz and Crooked Lines, he also began to craft quotations. Thoughts. Pieces of advice. Phrases to consider. Musings. Andre the novelist realized that he also had a love and enjoyment for penning quotes: brief compositions of purpose.
"My quotes come from me talking to like-minded persons, and just me being at peace and drawing closer to my inner spirituality," said Andre.
Currently, he posts regular quotes and thoughts online to a growing social media audience, hoping to reach his friends, family and immediate circle with good vibes and positive energy each day. These "Higher Thinka" quotes, accompanied by the brand hashtag, have now become a way of life for Andre. With each day and experience it is an opportunity to learn, to teach, and hopefully, to also uplift others.
"I would just love to be able to inspire persons to follow their dreams, and not allow their past to define their future," said Andre. "Higher Thinka represents thinking on a higher level than the norm. Searching for your truth, and being willing to speak for your truth. As my tagline says: creativity breathes uniqueness. #HigherThinka represents the creatives, and it represents being able to use your brain and your thoughts to their highest level and greatest potential."
A special piece of advice that Andre has received in life, that he holds on to in good and bad situations, came from his father who once told him: "The fact that you are hoping means that you have already lost." Andre uses this as a motivator for continuing to strive towards self-understanding, and having an awareness about his surroundings and interactions. The Higher Thinka quotes are his contribution to cultivating similar vibes around him.
"I just want others to embrace their true mental capacity, and not allow their minds to be controlled by what people say," said Andre. "In everything I do, I hope to encourage individuals to search for their own truths, and to not be afraid to be different. At the end of the day, there has to be balance."
Embracing his passion for writing, and the beauty of his surroundings, Andre also takes inspiration from his homeland of Jamaica and tries to instill the love and energy of the island into his story lines and overall lifestyle.
"Jamaica represents living life to the fullest," said Andre. "The culture, the music, and the people of Jamaica inspire me every day."
His journey as an author is a relatively new one, but his spirit has wholeheartedly embraced the path he is taking and the forces that lead him to influence readers in a positive and progressive way.
As readers become increasingly familiar with Andre Lloyd Simpson through his novels High Rollaz and Crooked Lines, he anticipates the release of his forthcoming novel and book of quotes this year as well. He will continue to create, and continue to absorb the potential of greatness around him.
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales."