A = Ashley Lacey
K = Kourtni
K: Why writing?
A: Writing has been an outlet for me since I was a little girl. It has allowed me to be able to speak my mind unapologetically and without
fear of judgment or shame, so…that’s why I write!
K: When did you start writing?
A: I was in the adolescent years when I started writing. I’ve been writing since…I would say 11 or 12? 11 or 12.
K: Do you have any published works?
A: Not yet! I do have a children’s book that I wrote, but I don’t know really…how to get into publishing? So that’s my next step, to put out a published work.
K: What is your book called, if you don’t mind me asking?
A: So it’s called “Little Queens”, for brown and black girls. It’s an affirmations book for people of color to be able to have confidence in themselves.
K: What are some of your biggest goals in writing?
A: To definitely become an author, for one. That’s huge for me. That’s high-priority on my list, to become a published author. I want to be able to impact and reach other people, especially the youth. And I want to one day become a New York Times best-seller, so that’s a big goal for me.
K: So what motivates you on a personal level?
A: I would say just my will to want to do better, to be better…to be a better woman for people that love me, people that don’t know me, and now my unborn child that motivates me to try to be the best parent that I can be. The best person that I can be.
K: Absolutely, and congratulations! Reflecting on your previous works, what would you say your biggest strengths and weaknesses are as a writer?
A: My biggest strength is that I write from a place of…I write my truth! I write my truth. I write what it is that means something to me. I write to be able to impact other people. My weakness is that my confidence is a little low when it comes to my writing and sharing my writing. I always kind of worry it’s not good enough for the public? And then sometimes, I feel like I’m limited with my writing.
K: Reflecting on your life, how do you believe your experiences have shaped the themes of your works?
A: A lot of my writing is about love, about seeing, heartbreak, anxiety, depression…all of those things I’ve been through in my life. So I typically always write about what it is that I’ve gone through, whether it’s known or unknown to other people. That’s the way that I can express myself and express things that I’ve gone through. So I think that’s what my writing is about, it’s about me and different experiences.
K: Piggybacking off of that, do you think that your experiences as a woman of color are what led you to feel drawn to create your children’s book?
A: Yes, for sure! For sure. And this is not to take away from any other color or race…but I know for me, being African-American, I already struggle to feel like I belong or fit in just because it’s either that I’m “too” this or “not enough” of this. And so, writing that children’s book allowed me to be able to speak to the youth and let them know they are enough regardless of what tone they are and what people may say or think of you.
K: Would you ever consider revisiting or rewriting old pieces? Why or why not?
A: Yes, for sure! I actually have. I actually have! I’m always going back and adding more. Because as you mature, you realize “Okay, this needs to go.” or “This needs to be added in”. So yes, I’m always going back to add more in.
K: Who would you say that you are in 5 words? I’ll challenge you a little bit as a writer!
A: Compassionate. Kind. Empathetic. Intelligent. Outgoing.
K: Elaborate more on your writing outside of poetry.
A: So I’ve written a lot of things, actually, like blogs. I’ve written tips…that’s my next thing I wanted to work on. Publishing blogs with tips on how to survive anxiety, tips on how to deal with ADHD, different mental illnesses. Tips on how to survive, really, your 20s. I’ve written all those things down. So that’s my thing that I like to work on. Things that are going to help other people.
K: How has your writing evolved?
A: I’m more open to trying different styles of poetry! I would say that I’ve written poetry that is not always about rhyming words, and moreso about speaking from the heart, speaking from different experiences. And, recently, writing a children’s book. That’s new! So I would say I’m always evolving with my writing. I’m always willing to try new things, even when it is challenging.
K: How have you evolved through writing?
A: Writing allows me to be free. It allows me to become a better woman, a better writer. It allows me to be open to all possibilities. Especially hearing other writers, as well. That allows me to feel more accepted, if that makes sense? I’ll always be bothered when it comes to writing, because there’s no such thing as the “best” writer. But I want to be the best writer to me.
K: What makes a “good” poem to you?
A: One that reaches the soul. One that impacts me spiritually, one that impacts me emotionally. One that I can relate to.
K: What makes a “bad” poem?
A: There is no such thing as a “bad” poem. That’s someone’s expression of themselves, and their time.
K: I love that answer and respect that answer so much. Like…I guess I was thinking more objectively? From a more…like…”clinical” look at it? But I actually respect and love that answer so much, because it really is somebody’s expression of themselves. And it’s practice, for sure.
A: It really is practice. It is.
K: Closing us off, what message would you like to leave with the world if you could choose one?
A: Always be kind to others. Treat people how you would want to be treated, and remember that we are all human beings. We all go through things, we all have bad days, and we need to all practice being more empathetic to one another. You just never know what a person is dealing with and what they’re going through.