Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham
Indeed, COVID-19 has brought about drastic changes in our lives. My state has a shelter-in-place order at this time, and all that goes with it. People overall have been good about compliance here; I must admit it’s weird driving on freeways with hardly any traffic, but I will take it for what it’s worth.
I remember the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” That has included being creative about staying connected, whether it’s via Zoom meetings or gathering for virtual church services online. I’m sure people are calling each other more to check in, especially with loved ones who are older. Except for the essential errands and a walk, besides prayer and meditation, I get to do more reading and writing, as well as binge-watch my favorite classic TV shows and movies.
This season has brought good news for me as an author. Earlier this month, I had the honor of being a guest on one of the local radio stations here, where I was interviewed about the impact COVID-19 has had on the LGBT community as well as my literary body of work. Also, my Christopher Family Novel series is now on the shelves of four library systems here in Minnesota. Yaassss!
For a person whose second home growing up was the library, having my work represented on those shelves is a mark of success for me as an author/novelist. Before the Information Age was deemed as such, there was the public library. Getting my first library card was a license to a whole wide world of books, newspapers, magazines (keep in mind that I was a child of the 1950s and early 1960s).
When I grew older, I would read biographies and autobiographies, but the fiction section tapped into my vivid imagination, particularly novelists who wrote series. To this day, I can visualize myself as a child, all arms and legs, walking home from a trip to the library with books up to my chin. I would then sit in my “reading chair” at home, my pile next to me, and proceed to read every book, each embarking upon a different adventure.
Indeed, I could stay in a library for hours, and it is still one of the places conducive to my best writing and inspiration. During my childhood and young adulthood, the main library here also had another treat: a planetarium. Field trips to the planetarium shows were part of my school days. But as an adult, it was a great way to get away for an hour and chill. And then I’d go over to the library and check out books.
Today, technology is an integral part of our public and school libraries, what with the Internet, computer labs, and the like. Still, there is nothing like having a book in your hands to read; for an author, holding your work in your hands or having a signed copy from your favorite authors.
Given the restrictions, my interactions with the libraries in my area are currently limited to curbside pickup of my materials—amazing how much we take for granted, given that there was a time in history when it was dangerous for African-Americans to know how to read and write. Seeing these buildings, however, serves as a reminder of another lesson I’ve learned over time—being a good writer means being a good reader.
Stay safe and well. Believe in dreams and never give up.
© 2020 by W.D. Foster-Graham
All rights reserved.
W.D. Foster-Graham is an independent novelist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received a B.A. in psychology from Luther College, and he was an original member of the multi-Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Sounds of Blackness. He has also been recognized by the International Society of Poets as one of its “Best Poets of 2003.”
His tastes in writing run to family sagas and M/M romance, seasoned with his own brand of African-American flavor—at the end of the day, it’s all about the love. He shamelessly admits to a love of romance novels, whodunits and classic movies of old Hollywood. He was also inspired by the late novelist E. Lynn Harris, who believed that an author should write the books he/she wants to read.
Current works in development are a continuation of his Christopher Family Novel series: Never Give Up, a blend of historical novel/family saga /whodunit, and two M/M romance novels, The Right to Be and To Thine Own Self.