She stood on the stage with an acoustic guitar and sang to her son about how it is alright for men to cry, about the need for safe sex, about the pain of being oppressed as a woman, a black person, a lesbian, about how God is the only who can make her whole.
Then, Gaye Adegbalola said, “Now, I want you to sing along on this one . . . and put some ass into it.”
I leaned over to P and said, “I’m stealing that.”
I was so impressed by Adegbalola’s music because she spoke her truth, her way. She’s a blues singer, and she’s got a stage presence – more of a spirit really – that stretches out and hugs you hard, the way your best friends hug you when you hurt or when you need to be reminded that you can hurt other people.
As a writer, that’s who I want to be – not Gaye Adegbalola – but me, the woman who speaks truth as I see it, who lays it out there in my way with my words and my stories. And, yep, I want to “put some ass in it.” I want it to be out there and a bit brazen, a little dirty – not sanitized, not too pretty but real, solid, something you put your weight on.
Sometimes, I think we make art too pretty, too easy to digest, especially if we are Christians. Sometimes, I’m not pretty (especially with this stage of the growing out my hair – anyone know magic tricks to grow hair faster?); sometimes what I see and hear and feel is barbed and prickly and, on occasion, downright gross. But to be true, to be real, to be honest, I have to tell these things sometimes – not for the sake of being controversial or simply to stir the pot – but to be a true witness.
So today, I’m taking my inspiration from Gaye Adegbalola . . . and putting some ass in it. . . taking a little bit of those pieces of pain that live in my heart and laying them out there . . . because sometimes they are our most beautiful parts, the gritty ones.
What do you think of this idea of “putting some ass in it” in terms of your art? Do you feel like you want to show the grit? Feel like you can?
Today, I’m finishing up the God’s Whisper Manifesto, and you can get a copy for free. Just sign up for my email list (in the left-hand corner of this page). You’ll get my daily posts, a monthly newsletter, free giveaways, and a copy of the God’s Whisper Manifesto. I’d love to connect with you this way.