Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Words of Sister Souljah

I finally finished reading Sister Souljah's 3rd book "Midnight," and I have been blown away, yet again by this woman's ability to write, create, and inspire.

I've only had a few books in my life that I've read that have really moved me. And I instantly know when a book has moved me because I can't put it down soon enough to begin my own writing.

As a writer, I ironically find it extremely difficult to "get into" other author's books. I find it easy to purchase a book, and easy to begin a book and find interest in it...but all it takes are a few pages for me to realize that I'm either in it to finish it...or that it will join a long list of creations on my bookshelf that may never get completed.

And this is no disrespect to the brilliant writers who have created their works...it's just that there is something that I internally seek out of the writing of others that somehow Sister Souljah has fulfilled in me each and every time I pick up one of her books.

Terry McMillan has this effect on me. Iyanla Vanzant has this affect on me. These sisters SPEAK to me so clearly that through their words I realize WHY I am a writer, and what type of emotions I aspire to evoke out of others if they so choose to read one of my books.

Reading her 1999 release "The Coldest Winter Ever" had me absolutely convinced that I'd never read anything better. That book continues to be the bomb in my eyes. Until I discovered her 1995 release "No Disrespect." I remember reading that book on a trip down south, not minding the hours of layovers on the trip because I was so hypnotized by her personal story.

"Midnight" has been in my possession probably for almost a year. I'd read a few pages, and then put it down. Read another few pages, and then put it down. Admittedly, I didn't get it...for a good while. I was expecting the fast-paced action of "The Coldest Winter Ever." I was expecting the drama of "No Disrepect." What I didn't realize that the meaning of this particular novel, the lessons, the spirit of it, and the overall impact it would have on my was far greater than I would know.

I fell in love with Akemi and Midnight's love story. It was so unconventional. So adolescent, yet so wise. So authentic. I was so drawn into their story that I could almost feel their emotions myself.

The sign of a great writer. I felt like I knew these characters personally. Their hearts. Their ambitions. Sister Souljah provided such depth to them, and understanding of their motives and passions that it was impossible to not want everything to work in their favour.

I love what the book said about love, about a man's protection of his family, about pride, awareness, and concientiousness. I love that the character midnight emcompassed the soul and wisdom of a man three times his age, all before reaching the age of 18 himself.

I loved Souljah's portrayal of the Islamic faith, and the tenets of their Muslim upbringing and current lifestyle. I loved the beauty of her descriptions of their spirituality, and could feel the power of Allah--even as a Christian--and why it was such an important piece of this family's being.

I enjoyed the way in which she made Akemi and Midnight communicate, despite the fact that they could not speak through language. Her words clearly illustrated their love for one another, and it wasn't so much in the words as it was the energy of the text.

Most importantly, I think "Midnight" is an excellent coming-of-age story for any young man (or woman) to read, as it highlights the importance of values, committment, and a strong work ethic. Midnight was able to exist as a combination of the hardest brother...yet still possess the softest heart. And still achieve personal success.

Love, love, loved every minute of it.

And can't wait to read the follow-up novel, "Midnight and the Meaning of Love" that was released this past April.

Sister Souljah is definitely an inspiration to me, as a woman, and of course, as someone who has mastered her literary communication skills.

Born in the Bronx, Souljah (aka Lisa Williamson) is a graduate of Rutgers University's American History & African studies programs. A community actvist, MC, and motivational speaker, she has been a presence in the African-American and also political circles for decades.

She has taken her experiences, and infused the lessons of life into her novels...indirectly, yet so strongly.

These are the women telling stories of our generation...and I honour them. I am thankful for their words, and thankful for the intention with which their writings are constructed. None of these stories are in vain. Not from Terry, not from Iyanla...or from the other authors who have taken a slice of "urban" reality, and told a beautiful and spiritually uplifting story with it.

Checking online immediately for the next step in the saga of Midnight. If her past three books are any indication of the next book, then I think I'll be able to ride this inspiration for the next few months, and knock out a few chapters of my own book as a result.

Grateful for her words.



By Stacey Marie Robinson, Toronto-born writer and founder of Kya Publishing.

5 comments:

  1. I love sister Souljah and every book she has written! So powerful!

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  2. get ready...the sequel 2 Winter will be here at end of Jan. 2013!

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  3. Sista souljah ur books helped me through some rough years I thank you for such strong and motivating novels I read each one at least three timrs zKeep em coming

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  4. Where did you find these pictures? Are they inside the book?

    Can you find the pictures for the new book that's coming out in November?

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