Tell us a little about yourself! How old are you and where are you from? What’s a fun fact about your hometown?
My name is LaShae. I’ll be 25 in July; I’m a cancer! I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Fun fact, the Brick City is home to the longest mural on the East Coast!
When did you realize you had a love for art/poetry and writing?
I feel like I always loved art and poetry. My mother, my grandmother, and my grandaunt were all dancers and writers, and they’ve had the greatest influences on me. When I was a little girl, my mother and grandmother took me to see Alvin Ailey, and I fell in love with dance. I watched her and my mother perform on that exact same stage and fell in love with theater. My great-aunt showed me Langston Hughes, and I fell in love with poetry. Then in 6th grade, my writing teacher brought in two local slam poets who performed for us and started a mini poetry club, and this is when I fell in love with writing poetry for myself.
Do you have any published works? If so, tell us about them!
I’ve submitted to and been printed in my college’s literary magazine a few times, but I am proud to say Black Girl Poetry Scrapbook Vol. 3 is my first official publication!
Who and what has been an inspiration for you during your writing/poetry journey? What motivates you to keep creating during such difficult times?
Great poets and great literature have been my greatest inspiration, always. Admittedly though, around the start of the pandemic, I lost all motivation and creativity, and suddenly poems were so far and few, but recently, I met a local poet who told me to just write every day. Every single poem won’t be gold, but I have to write through the bad poems to get my good ones. He was reiterating, in person, something Jasmine Manns had also said recently, paraphrased a bit, the difference between a poet and someone who was inspired to write a poem is craftsmanship. So, I’ve been working on my craft diligently.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of your day job?
I also enjoy photography and photo editing! I especially like making digital collages. Also music, dancing, and eating. I like to cook, but I prefer eating.
What are some of your favorite books and who are some of your favorite writers?
My top five favorite books are Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, The Coldest Winter Ever, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Homegoing. Other authors I admire are Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie.
What was your experience like being a part of this contest/publication?
I was so excited to be a part of this publication! I saw a post about it in a FB group and commented that I was interested, but found the link to submit in the comments before Chanel replied to me. By the time she did, I already submitted because I was so excited! Then when I did my deep dive into the publication and the podcast, I was so enamored with everything I was seeing! Being chosen as one of the winners, knowing the caliber of women writers I was in competition with, it was truly an honor, maybe my greatest this year.
Do you have any upcoming projects or events you’d like to share?
I don’t have any UPCOMING projects, just several works in progress, but they are coming together nicely!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
To the aspiring writer, write. Wake up and write. Wonder, wander and write. Live. Laugh. Love. Frolic. Risk failure. But above all, write constantly.