I’m gonna be honest, y’all. 2016 has been a lot. Life lessons on top of learning experiences. Trials and tribulations, peaks and valleys. This year I planned to celebrate my 10th anniversary in August. I had all sorts of plans, design partnerships and events, I was invited on a special trip that month — so many exciting ideas. And then life happened. I got sick, I got a kidney stone, I had to have surgery. It knocked me off my game and stole my mojo. All of the plans I had for the summer basically faded away.

 

In July, right before I got sick, I got an e mail from my alma mater, the University of Miami. I graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing, and I was invited back to share my career journey with those students — it’s a program called U-Speak. I wish it was around when I was in school! And now I’m fully recovered and heading back to Miami this weekend. First I’ll be speaking to students on campus. Then on Friday evening, I’ll be speaking at Books & Books, the best independent bookstore in South Florida, the place where I first worked immediately after graduation.

 

uspeak-fall-2016-afrobella

To say this feels like a special full circle moment, is an understatement. I literally cried this morning when I visited the University of Miami home page and saw this photo of myself as the very first thing. Just wow. I never could have dreamed. And that links to an article about my career — click here to read Jennifer Palma’s article on me, titled The Beauty of Blogging.

afrobellauspeakmiami

 

And then to REALLY complete the full circle, the Miami New Times announced my event — thanks, Clarissa Buch!

I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I’m going home for homecoming! There will be a livestream link, so even if you’re far away, you can watch — I’ll share that link as soon as I have it.

The whole experience feels pretty surreal right now — like its happening to someone else. I am sure I will shed a tear or two this weekend. It all feels very significant, especially given the year I’ve had. Like a reminder from the universe to keep going because I’m on the right path. Sometimes that path brings you back to where you came from.

Seating at Books & Books will be first come, first served on Friday. Hope to see so many old friends and peers in the building! See you on Friday, Miami!

COMMENTS

Mxb says:
November 1, 2016, 1:30 pm
Love this! Cannot wait!
pets says:
November 1, 2016, 3:22 pm
So proud of you and happy! In your MFA you were Editor for the Luck Number Thirteen Edition of the Mangrove - the UM's Dept. of English magazine, where you got Nalo Hopkinson, author and recent awardee of an Honorary Doctorate from The University of Anglia, Ruskin - England to advise you. It was also where you won the Shorty Story Prize. Books and Books where you worked hard made lifelong friends and got to meet Bill Clinton when he did his book tour there. Miami New Times where you won awards and plaudits for doing a great job and began to build the tools required for your "magazine". UM which helped you to grow and develop your inner writing abilities, editorial skills and polished your presentation and delivery skills. So happy that you can give back! I can't wait to read your speeches.
Kiss & Make-up says:
November 3, 2016, 3:09 am
Have fun! :-)

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