#TBT – Sometimes, Remembering is Motivation

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I was sitting here thinking of a memorable throwback to share, mainly to make sure I hit my personal quota of at least three typed pages a day. Pouring words into a notebook or laptop daily, as well as reading, is exercise for the common writer. It’s the best and most practical practice for honing your skill.

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Photo: Jessica Gale


At any rate, I began flipping through some of my old word docs looking for maybe a cute short-winded piece of fiction, or a bit of poetry. I like to rhyme every now and again. I came across my very first professional interview for a well-recognized hip-hop magazine. The editor and creator of the magazine approached me and asked if I would interview and write an article for a locally known female breakdancer who was making a name for herself in the dance industry. She also doubled as an art and fashion designer. To make it plain, the girl was bad! When I heard the editor’s request, I was joyfully shocked, but replied with a quick yes because I needed the opportunity on my resume.

I remember prepping the day I was supposed to do the interview. My stomach was feasting on butterflies and nervous energy. The night before, I stood in the mirror and interviewed myself to prepare.  I could barely get through the first question without bursting into laughter. With tape recorder, pens, pad, and an extra set of nerves, I headed over to meet with my interviewee.

When I arrived she was already waiting–dressed like a true b-girl and hanging out with a group of guys. A tiny smiled rested up in the left side of my cheek. Growing up as a tomboy myself, I related. She saw me walking up and came and gave me the biggest hug. Before I knew it, we were well off into a conversation about life, family, entrepreneurship, and religion. We stood talking, walked talking, and sat down with a snack talking. A couple of hours had gone by and I hadn’t even taken out my tools for interviewing. Finally, during a break in subjects, she suggested I go ahead and ask her a few questions. She’d already answered them. The interview was a wrap. We hugged and said our see ya laters. And, our personalities meshed so well, we agreed to keep in touch. I drove home.

As soon as I walked in the door, I sat down at the computer and typed out everything I remembered. My main concern was articulating the dopest intro. The first three lines were like something out of a Tupac verse. As a matter of fact, I think I had the tune to California love in my head, but we won’t go there. I’ve grown a lot in my selection of music. I finished the article and immediately IM’ed it to the editor. Yeah, remember when IM’ing was the new text? Not even a few minutes later, the phone rang. I remember looking at the caller id and thinking, “Oh no. I tanked it.” But nope! Nothing but accolades, with a few helpful pointers for the future, came from the other end of that telephone line. I was like, “Yeah baby! I’m official. Check my resume!” It was months before another offer came. But I was alright with that because I was official. Plus, I had a day job. Hey, you have to pay into your dream somehow.

I’m sitting here rereading this interview and thanking God immensely for the relationship I’ve built with the Oxford thesaurus over the years. When I told myself to keep it simple, I wasn’t playing. If I had written this last month and read it again today, I’d fire myself…for a little while at least. Growth is comely.

Gratefully, what I was equipped with then suited the occasion and it launched my belief in my gift. It’s been almost eleven years since that interview, and I believe even more in my purpose than ever before. I’m glad I didn’t give up.

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Naomi C. Kellogg

Naomi is an emerging screenwriter and novelist who writes fiction, nonfiction, and dramas. She’s written for a national magazine, run a blog, and headed the communications department for a 501c3 corporation. Naomi is actively completing a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and is a member of the Nation Council of Negro Women (NCNW), St. Petersburg Chapter, where she hopes to inspire young African-American women who aspire to write.

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