Thank you, Wyatt, for the wonderful opportunity you have given me to be one of your guest columnists. Not only is this my 20th post with you, but it is also my second anniversary in that capacity. Indeed, February 2019 marked my debut as the Old School New Kid. As such, this is a time of remembrance of dreams in my life as a gay/SGL man of a certain age.
As those who have followed my column have noticed, I end it with my motto: “Believe in dreams and never give up.” At 18, my life was filled with dreams in a different landscape, when LGBT rights were in their infancy. I wanted a home, a spouse, children. It just so happened that I wanted this with a husband instead of a wife, but everything around me said that wouldn’t happen, that it would remain a dream.
My love of writing had been consistent, and I was a contributing writer for my college Black Student Union newspaper, Kuumba. Becoming a published author was a dream in the realm of “maybe, someday,” but it never went away, even when I joined the 9-to-5 business world.
There is a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” When it came time to write my first novel, Mark My Words, I was ready, and ready to learn what “Publishing While Black” meant. The thing about dreams; when they encompass what your true passion is, they will stand the test of time and the challenges. Your passion will drive you. Your passion will keep you on course, no matter how long it takes, whatever it takes, and you never give up. I should know; from the time I started Mark My Words to holding the first copy in my hands was a 17-year learning experience.
The dream of a family was no different. God opened windows where doors were closed, and I became a father. By all accounts and appearances, the naysayers said, “Impossible.” A single, African-American, gay/SGL man raising a baby at 47? Well, the dream came true, and my son will be 21 this year. Of all the titles I’ve had over the years, the one that is nearest to my heart is “Dad.”
A husband was another matter. There are some beliefs still floating around in this youth-obsessed society of ours that men of a certain age, especially two African American men of a certain age, can’t find love and sustain a long-term marriage together; of course, the idea of two women or two men legally marrying seemed impossible 50 years ago. Yet here my husband and I are, married 11 years and still going strong (yes, I was 57 when we were married). I had to smile when my fellow Black alums from college told me, “Once you hit those double digits, it’s forever.” For those of you who are posting wedding photos of Black male couples, keep doing it; it lets brothas know that dreams can and do come true. If you are posting older Black male couples, it gives hope that there are those out there whose marriages are sustainable, and can last for a lifetime.
Besides getting out of my way (because we can be masters at sabotaging ourselves), gratitude is another factor in dreams manifesting into reality. It means being grateful for what I already have, for the support around me, and for every step of progress, no matter how small. And of course, gratitude for the One who is the source of my supply.
What we give is what we receive. Now, flirting with 70, I am grateful for my family, my friendships, my business as an independent author, my health, being an activist in my community, the opportunity as a columnist, and having a platform to support other African American authors as a book review editor. I could go on, but that would take up a novella. To my brothas and sistahs out there, I send you prayers and wishes for happiness and success.
Looking back on the dreams that are now a reality, other dreams are emerging, and I am looking forward with anticipation while appreciating the present. And just for fun, I am still dreaming of owning a pink 1958 Cadillac.
Believe in dreams and never give up
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.”
W.D.’s 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 and Toni Morrison, who believed that an author should write the books he/she wants to read.
W.D. is a book review editor for Insight News, a Black community newspaper in the Twin Cities. His column is titled, “Sharing Our Stories.”
His Christopher Family Novel series can be found on the shelves of 12 public library system collections in Minnesota and the Des Moines Public Library system in Iowa. Current works in development are a continuation of his series: two M/M romance novels, “The Right to Be” (coming of age) and “To Thine Own Self” (a 30-plus couple), and “The Rise of Sherry Payson,” a story seasoned with humor, romance, mystery, and a story within.
Mr. Evans has reported and written for print and on line media outlets including the HuffingtonPost, The Washington Post, The Advocate, Bilerico, BaltimoreOUTloud, Washington Post, Baltimore Gay Life and the Washington Blade. His series of articles on issues such as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A), Relationships, Depression, and Racism strongly resonate with the LGBTQ Community and its Allies.
To read his work for HUFF PO, visit: https://huffingtonpost.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/
Mr. Evans has written an in-depth, multi-part and award-winning series on racism within the LGBTQ Community for Bilerico..
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