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  • Behind The Book " Soul Psalms " April 19th, 2016
Behind The Book " Soul Psalms " April 19th, 2016
Written by
April 2016
Written by
April 2016

I have been a writer all my life. Writing was/is a way for me to capture my feelings, make sense of the world , maintain some sense of sanity in this often crazy world. Writing for me is like breathing. My first inspiration was my mother, and she still is. My mother is an Artist, a writer, a teacher, a librarian, eco-bed and breakfast owner, landscape architect and more She is an all around fearless woman who dares to do what she sets her mind to ,a take no prisoners approach. My mother was trained as a Librarian in-fact was one the earliest Librarians right after independence in Zimbabwe in the 1980's. It is no surprise then that I grew up to be an educator/writer/poet given that I literally grew up around books ( pun intended!)

I remember collecting words like some youth collected phone numbers, cassettes, back then. My dictionary was my best friend and I would religiously copy words and definitions and enjoy reading the stories in Readers Digest.

I have been a Spoken Word Artist for 20 years. It happened rather accidentally but I have been sharing my work in the Boston area and abroad to audiences that have humbled me and made me realize the true gift that it is to express feeling and connect.

In essence I feel like I have been writing this book “Soul Psalms” all my life. It is a collection of poems that that reflect my journey into being but more importantly a universal pull for us all to reclaim ourselves in spite of our twisted and unique histories fashioning a more interesting landscape.

In 2010 I gave my manuscript to my friend KL Pereira to edit. After that I started to submit it to various presses and publishers. I received some rejection letters from some places and dead silence from others. I was also pregnant during this time and hyper emotional so I have admit that it did hit me really hard. Its not easy being a creative, being porous to the afflictions of others and society. But the worse bomb hadn't been dropped yet. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 Thyroid Cancer when I was 7 months pregnant and I almost lost my mind. I was beyond devastated and put everything on hold. My mother was in Zimbabwe at the time and I wasn't allowed to fly. At the same time my best friend was involved in a major accident where she broke her verterbrae in a sledding accident. Needless to say it was a difficult time.

My son Jabulani was born 33 weeks premature at 3 pounds 1 ounce but he was beautiful, strong and perfect. My mother started radiation to eliminate the cancer from her body, and after about 2013 I resumed the quest to find a publisher for my book.A year went by of silence and rejection and I was about to give up and self publish but I can across the She Writes Platform and decided this was my last shot. I sent the manuscript in November 2014 and waited. Thanksgiving I received a response and I was overjoyed! How fitting the timing, the celebration! So what is the lesson? For me it's that the universe gives you what you desire and need when it is the right time. That sometimes through painful or trying experiences creativity and truth arises.

My book is a culmination of feeling, the journey to understanding but also love letter poetically to my sister friends. I have spent the last 16 yrs teaching wellness and creativity to youth and adults who struggle with self acceptance and finding voice. I want them and others to know that there is more on other side if you are willing to do the work, escavate the crevices and make room for beautiful. I want them to embrace the complexities of culture and spectrum of womanhood /person-hood and make it their own .I want people when they read this book to witness the power of personal truth and to rise up to meet their new and best life.

This book is dedicated to my mother, who remains strong in the face of the disease and I am thankful she is doing well.

I want to thank the She Writes Press for believing in my work and for the sisterhood I have found in this community. Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard and unchanged.

…'' there's only ONE woman worthy of being me, there is only ONE worthy of telling my story.. OUR story.......” -Soul Psalms April 19, 2016

For more information: www.about.me/umeleni
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