- What is your first memory of writing for fun?
I’m not your traditional poet. I didn’t start off writing love poems to or about ex girlfriends. In my most recent podcast interview I explained how my earliest attempts at writing, which was in middle school, consisted of me scribbling rap lyrics in composition notebooks. Back in the early 2000’s we called them “rhyme books”. I admired rappers like Nas for that storytelling flow and made it my business to imitate that style each time I wrote a bar. That was when I was most happy with writing: writing raps, telling a story while rapping and staying on beat while reciting what I wrote. Eventually, I accepted that I wasn’t that good at it, but I took that same passion and put it into writing poetry.
- How many drafts = done?
DRAFT! DRAFT! DRAFT! I didn’t learn to appreciate the concept of drafting until my time at UB. Before I would write a poem and boost on how I thought I composed “the realest shit I ever wrote”. But man oh man, the workshop has a way of humbling that. I think you need at least 3 good drafts before you consider yourself done.
- What is your favorite book or favorite book-of-the-moment?
Favorite book of all time, hands down is Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. Favorite Book of the moment is Not Without Our Laughter by The Black Ladies Brunch Collective.
- What is it about your discipline that gets you the most excited?
I think I’m most excited with my discipline when I’m comfortable with the fact that I wont always “get it” on the first attempt. There’s something valuable in coming back to what you previously started. So for me, starting a new poem is what motivates me but finishing it is what pushes and disciplines me. And by finishing it, I mean bringing new concepts, ideas, sounds, different styles and vernacular to what I started. One thing I admire most about my discipline is that I’m constantly reading. Constantly dissecting other writer’s work. Most times I read before I write.
- What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?
I love all Baltimore Slang words. Words like “lor” which evolved from “lil” which really means “little”. “Ard” is another one of my favorites, because it means is much more easier to say than “alright”. Oh and can’t forget about “dummy” which is a term of endearment used amongst black men in Baltimore City when greeting other black men. Example: “yooo what’s up dummy?” or “ard dummy” or “love you dummy”.
Come out TOMORROW, Tuesday, September 12th to hear Wallace and our other fantastic readers at Writer & Words! 7pm, Charmingtons, be there or be something else. Just be there.