In 2014, I started a compilation of letters to my little brothers, Dominic and Chad. They were transitioning into manhood and had gotten to the stage where open chiding brought to them immense scars to their egos. My unplanned assaults of kisses and hugs were no better. They brought to them embarrassment. Still, I wanted to let them know that I was proud of the good things that they did, and I wanted to dissuade bad habits, behaviors and thought patterns without seeming like the overbearing big sister. I also wanted to apologize for the ways in which I felt I had wronged them. It turned out to be so much more. I wrote letters to all my brothers: the ones in Christ, the ones who aren’t in Christ, the ones who are lost, and the ones who are found.
A few weeks after I started my letters to Dominic and Chad, I would take up a short stint as the Assistant Youth Leader at my home church. There, I got to see and learn about how young women interacted with young men in the body. I often found that they lacked the sense of self that would encourage them to make the decisions that I would want to see them make. I decided that I would also write some letters to my sisters. Again, it became so much more. As I begun to write, I recognized that I had not yet solidified what womanhood was. I was writing to these young ladies but I was also writing to myself, seeking concrete shapes of who and what I was as a woman and what it meant for my purpose here on earth.
The answers that I was seeking were the responses to complicated and controversial questions; particularly for the church. They were difficult questions. They challenged culture and long held beliefs and I experienced maybe too much backlash for it. But I wasn’t the only young Christian seeking answers by encouraging discourse on Facebook. There were quite a few of us; all of whom had embraced the power of the sword of the pen. I made a proposition to them : Let us address the issues -social, economic and religious – that affect us through our gift of writing.
Everyone was on board and so #TheLettersProject was conceived.
Conception is one thing, but carrying a child to term is another and birthing is also another.
In the months that would follow, we would forego the expense of setting up our own publishing company. As a group of writers we would experience a host of things that in one way or another would place stumbling blocks along our path: death, grief, depression, unplanned financial expense, work, growing businesses and participation in pageants. But we birthed it. A few late nights, strained eyes, scrambled timezones and broken dates later give us the privilege and honor of saying that on March 17th, 2017 we release 6 books.
I think, in addition to embarking on a journey to heal hearts and bless lives, to encourage young men and women to become everything that they’ve been put on this earth to become, this project has made tangible, for many young Caribbean writers and authors, the dream of publishing.