Love's Troubadours

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Birth of Novel Series


lorrainevivianhansberry.JPGLove’s Troubadours was inspired by a speech given by American playwright Lorraine Hansberry in February 1964. She spoke to a Harlem-based group of aspiring young, gifted, and African American writers about the power to love in America. In her remarks, Hansberry stated,

“O, the things that we have learned in this unkind house that we have to tell the world about! Despair? Did someone say despair was a question in the world? Well then, listen to the sons of those who have known little else.  If you wish to know the resiliency of this thing you would so quickly resign to mythhood, this thing called the human spirit … Life? Ask those who have tasted of it in pieces rationed out by enemies. Love? Ah, ask the troubadours who have come from those who have loved when all reason pointed to the uselessness and foolhardiness of love. Perhaps we shall be the teachers when it is done.  Out of the depths of pain we have thought to be our sole heritage in this world-O, we know about love!”  

She referred to African Americans as troubadours, the descendents of people who used the power of love to live through and overcome despair and insurmountable odds. She went on to urge the audience to seek wisdom from African Americans because of their capacity to love.

I first read about Hansberry’s speech in Salvation by bell hooks in 2001. Salvation discusses how African Americans have used the power of love to transform their lives and communities. hooks’ writings called me to question how I could use my gifts as an artist and writer to promote love as a healing tool in the lives of individuals and communities in America. I answered that question by writing and self-publishing the first novel in the Love's Troubadours' series.

I began working on the novel in 1997. That same year, many of the characters introduced themselves to me while I attended Essence Magazine’s Music Festival in New Orleans. They traveled home with me and into my daily life. From 1998 to 2000, I wrote bits and pieces of the characters’ stories. In 2001, I stepped out on faith with the creative support of Rayes Deno Moss, and committed to writing a novel manuscript entitled Ask the Troubadours Who Have Come from Those Who Have Loved. Deno provided a much needed male voice to the project. Our collaborative efforts created a series of stories narrated by a cadre of male and female characters. We completed a final manuscript on January 23, 2003. A few days later, we mailed letters of inquiry to several agents. Deno made his life transition on February 6, 2003, two days after his 41st birthday. He was buried on Valentine’s Day in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. While reading Deno’s obituary to his family and friends at his funeral, I realized that he was truly one of Love’s Troubadours.

Deno’s life transition created tremendous healing and growth opportunities in my life. I was forced to face my fear of writing a novel on my own. This fear was one of the major reasons I invited him to co-write the original manuscript. In addition, I learned how to sit with the grief and suffering that comes from losing a dear friend. With the presence and support of the Divine Spirit and my angels, ancestors, editor/brothalove friend Wayne P. Henry, and sacred circle of family and friends, I mustered the energy to surrender my ego and write from my heart. Prayer, meditation, affirmations, yoga, chanting, reiki healing touch, acupuncture, music, painting, collage-making, wire sculpting, journaling, walking, running, and weight training also helped me stay the course.
In 2003 and 2004, I received feedback on the manuscript from agents, writers, family, and friends, much of it encouraging me to expand the characters’ emotions and experiences. As a result, the original manuscript gave birth to four new manuscripts. In 2005, I became overwhelmed with writing, especially when it came to expanding novel excerpts that contained Deno’s words. They were the only written evidence of his creative spirit. I didn’t want to change anything. I needed to preserve his soul on paper. So I decided to focus my energy on developing a manuscript about a female character that was closest to my heart.

In 2006, I decided to shorten the name of the novel series to Love’s Troubadours. Today, it is a healing fiction series about people learning and living as they love. I define healing fiction as stories about people who discover their own power and choose to use it to uncover their hidden wholeness. As they travel this journey, they learn that they cannot control life. They also learn that their hearts are adaptable despite what occurs in life. They come to know and apply the universal truth of maintaining an adaptable heart which helps them understand, accept, and transform their lives according to the natural flow of the universe.

Enjoy Karma's journey!

Excerpt from Love's Troubadours - Karma: Book One

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