Stepping to the stage is: Therone Shellman
I think one of the hardest things an author can do is not be swayed by stereotypes or the norm. Since the first day of the release of “Love Don't Live Here” (revised edition) in 2005, in the back of my mind, I've always felt that I was caught up in the middle of a case of mistaken identity.
I laugh now when I think of how I would send off the press kit for “Love Don't Live Here” and people would assume I was a woman. This is what had become of the state of black literature? Here it is a story about the lives of two young black women who become single mothers striving to raise their sons to become productive men and black women reviewers and professionals in the industry assume that only a woman would or could write this story. But I also took note that the days of Langston Hughes, Alex Baldwin, Richard Wright, J.A. Rogers and the like had long been gone for decades. Now it was the era of black men writing about the streets and the lives they've lived or came from.
Being raised within the 5 Percent Nation, as a teen, my rough street upbringing was overshadowed by the teachings of world history, psychology, sociology and self empowerment, which was instilled in me from the Nation. So I was a much different person than the average black male my age, and so I was also a much different writer than other writers.
My second title, “No Love Lost,” would take one further down the road of where I stood in regards to my knowledge of what was happening and why the things that do happen in urban neighborhoods do. It wasn't enough for me to just state the obvious - that crime is rampant and many have no hope. I needed to point out that at the end of the day each individual is responsible for their own choices.
To further my point of self responsibility, I wrote my autobiography, “Survivor I Changed the Rules Part 1.” The work is far from being bravado, but instead a clear statement of individuality, evolving as a human and finding purpose. It's ironic how as a person evolving I walked down the same roads I would later see that a writer needs to. A writer needs to find their own voice, no matter the obstacles or the people who stand in their way.
Today I'm at another level in my writing. I've moved past the debates or need to prove anything. In fact, the argument over urban lit or social responsibility is old to me. I have a body of work, and thousands of book sales to speak my points clearly.
My latest title, “All You Need to Know to Become an Entrepreneur,” again takes one down the road of self responsibility and a need to add on to the greater good. Entrepreneurship is a collective effort, although it may be initiated by one individual.
The greatest challenge any writer will face is if they have the gall to walk into the wilderness of their mind to find out what makes them, then express those ideas to the world. If they do anything else, they are just cloning someone else. There is a reason the Creator only makes one of each human.
Therone Shellman is a writer whose works are nothing less than social statements. He is the author of “Love Don't Live Here” (revised edition), “No Love Lost,” “The Secrets of Self Publishing,” “Survivor I Changed the Rules Part 1,” and his latest work “All You Need to Know to Become an Entrepreneur.” You can learn more about Therone at www.amazon.com/author/theroneshellman