Highlighting & preserving women in Art
ALH: When did you become serious about it, and pursue it as a life path? Would you consider what you do your life path?
AO: I have always been serious about poetry as a form of release for me. I did not become open to sharing it with others until I was in college and started speaking at open mics. It will always be a my passion and how I cope, I am still deciding which direction to go whether incorporating it into workshops for young women or publishing more books etc.
ALH: Why do you create?
AO: I create because we are nothing without creativity. I create because I eat, sleep, and breathe words. I create because there is power in our words.
ALH: Who are some of your major influences/role models?
AO: My grandmother is a role model for me, an example that we all have the power to change. I am also inspired by Nikki Giovanni who is now a professor at Virginia Tech, something I am interested in tapping into.
ALH: What inspires you?
AO: I am inspired everyday when I open my eyes. My clients, friends, and family are a source of inspiration as well. I try to observe everything and file situations away as lessons.
ALH: What advice would you give a nineteen year old creative who wants to make their thing into their whole life?
AO: I would say that you have to believe in you first and be willing to invest yourself in yourself. It will be challenging to gain supporters if they do not see a thirst in you.
ALH: What’s one of the most rewarding parts of your work?
AO: When I receive feedback that someone ‘felt’ what I was saying or even listening to their interpretation of the work.
ALH: What’s one of the hardest?
AO: The vulnerability. Each time that my work goes into the atmosphere, it is there for other people to judge albeit critically or constructively.
ALH: How do you get through blocks in your creativity?
AO: I write through them. I start and stop. And put rambling thoughts together until they begin to make sense.
ALH: What have you got coming up in the next couple of months?
AO: I plan to audition for the poets café through the National Black Writers conference in March. I am also working on a book signing event.