Darnetta Frazier (Genesis) is an Ohio-born, spoken-word poet. As reviewer for A Place Of Our Own (APOOO) and novelist, she dabbles in the literary scene from all perspectives. Along with honing her craft, she revels in motherhood, daughterhood, wifedom, and friendship. She currently maintains a blog called One Word at a Time and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Description of 30 Days by Darnetta Frazier
30 Days is a short moment in twin sisters’ lives when they are grieving for their mother differently. It is a pivotal moment where both acknowledge the other’s pain and how they choose to carry on without their mother’s presence.
What is writing to you?
Writing, to me, is being able to express myself and a way to exhale, especially when life has me holding my breath.
Why did you agree to be a part of the GWave Writing Journey?
I felt being a part of the journey would hold me accountable to my gift. I also love being a part of a writing sisterhood as well.
How did friendship and sisterhood help/hinder your writing during the journey?
I don’t think it hindered me; I hindered myself-not purposely though. Friendship and sisterhood helped because there were times when my story was going no where and you all encouraged me to either continue or chuck it and start something different. Not to mention being able to discuss life and how that ALWAYS got in the way of writing.
How did the use of GWave help facilitate conversation amongst the group during the journey?
GWave gave us a medium to share ideas, what we’ve written, and give/get feedback. GWave could have been more helpful if we could have accessed it from our cellphones. There were times when my computer was in one of its bi-polar episodes and I couldn’t get on and I can’t lie, I felt a little lost and out of the loop.
What were some of the successes and or pitfalls that occurred for you during the writing journey?
My successes were that I built up quite a few story ideas and the pitfalls were I had a few traumatic life occurrences that stopped my writing dead in its tracks.
What did you learn about yourself through the writing journey? As person and as writer?
I learned through this journey that as much as I love to write, I may not be writing in the correct medium. I no longer feel a pull to write novels as much as I feel to write screenplays and poetry. I think it’s time for me to develop my talent in that area. When I see things and write them, my visions play out like movies and I want to take my talents to that arena, :-)
As a person, I learned that I’m my worst enemy, that I need a certain type of validation to continue writing. And I’m not sure that’s what any writer should really need just to write. Of course writers want the validation of their target audience, just not initially since writing is such an intimate and often lonely act. This is also one of the reasons I need to remix it, figure out where my skills and ideas fit best. I also find out that I need instant gratification. I’ve lost the patience it needs to build a good story. I just want to see it, write it, and it happen at that moment.
Another important thing I learned about myself was that I abandoned my first love, poetry. I plan to return with a vengeance. For some reason I let poetry escape me, but I recall being less stressed, more able to handle life’s hiccups when I wrote poetry.
Well, supposedly, you wrote during this journey...what do you plan to do with what you've written?
I plan to publish a non-fiction work called They Don’t Speak about Us, which delves into the psyche and experience of a young grandmother-to-be. Out of all the things I’ve attempted to write throughout this journey, this piece is most important and most needed. I haven’t decided if I’d write the entire thing myself, compile an anthology, or create a stage play with it. But I know it needs to be heard/seen.
They Don't Speak about Us
November 10, 2010
I relied on auto-pilot this morning. Woke up. Covered my hair. Got kids ready for school. Drove them to school. Returned home to my couch and sat. I wasn’t quite sure if just sitting was serving any good, but each time I rose, I had so many thoughts that I just sat back down. Overwhelmed by the simple act of thinking.
The night before, before I fell asleep, had been filled with community and sharing of libations with my sisters and mother. Though I was present, I stayed out of all the pregnancy conversations. At this point, I’d minimally spoken to my daughter; there was nothing to say until she made her decision, quieted her fears, examined her future, absorbed all the discussions she’d have to endure-tonight and for time to come.
That’s right. Times are different and I knew there would be discussions for me as well: Why wasn’t she on birth control? You can’t LET her have this baby! What are YOU going to do? The difference was, I could choose whether or not to indulge in those discussions. And my answer was, “Leave me alone. It isn’t my problem.” I also had determined that I would only seek opinions and advice from wise women whom I cherish and trust and am supportive of and supported by.
While at the impromptu wine night, I’d learned, for certain, that my daughter was unsure of whether or not she should bring forth life. Instinctually, I knew she was pregnant all along. And I knew she was confused about how to feel about being pregnant. She examined every aspect of her short life and categorized how she felt about the father, about them raising a child, and sadly her heart would overrule her head. This was natural. At her age, 17, all that matters are emotional connections; not what your mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, or uncles taught you. No matter how many positive people I placed in her life, I knew ultimately she’d choose her own path. That’s what life is about sometimes. I’d been there before; her shoes were mine exactly 17 years ago.
All of the women around her had varied opinions and varying experiences. They leant her a moment in their struggles with parenthood. Even those with no children. They were able to speak about the baby fresh freedom she would soon be required to give up. Though some had no children of their own, they’d witnessed many sisterfriends and family members sacrifice the freedom she now takes for granted.
She listened and absorbed every syllable like she wanted to take in as much of this moment as the good Lord allowed. And I watched her. I watched her be confused, afraid, and happy in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t help her; I knew that. But what about us? What about teenage mothers who birth teenage mothers? There is no where for us to go, share, and get or receive support and feedback. There are no books to read on how to handle something like this. But the emotions are real, the problem is real, but there is no real entity for guidance. They just don’t speak about us. But we’re here. This is what consumed my thoughts this night. Once again, I relied on auto-pilot. I drank, played cards, and promised everyone new hair-do’s the next day; if I woke from this nightmare. But the nightmare was still there this morning.