Contributor Spotlight: Abigail Mariam

Why is writing important to you?
Writing is a means of reflection, creation, and discovery for me. Without writing, I lose my capacity to see myself and learn from my own thoughts. As a lifelong learner, I greatly value the window into my own life and the lives of those around me that words provide.

What keeps you busy when you’re not writing?
Thinking about why I don’t write as much as I’d like :). I greatly enjoy exploring the Bay Area, introverting in my house with a good book or a close friend, trying something new with my hair, and quieting my mind enough to let some brilliant ideas seep through.

I’m also an expert day dreamer and retired(ing) worry-wart.

What piece are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of piece I wrote entitled the garden. This piece is an essay/short story that I love because it’s one of my written expressions that delights in the unrestricted experiences of people of color. A young black woman spends time in the natural world, tending to a garden, for the first time and she sees how beautiful, how intuitive caring for natural life is to her.

I often wish that freedom was the birthright of all young kids of color, to think about and engage love for nature, to invest in cultivating the parts of our self beyond and defend our humanity to those who would kill us.

What book or books have most influenced your thinking or writing?
I am grateful to draw from a number of influences for my writing. Julia Alvarez’ The Woman I Kept to Myself emboldened me to write more about my own experiences and use them as a launching point for other works. Toni Morrisson’s The Bluest Eye and Tar Baby also challenged me to think about how to creatively structure narrative and tell the stories of those in pain, neglected, or made invisible. Definitely Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of my favorite books and heavily influenced me because I was so struck by how a male author could capture the narrative of two women struggling for freedom in a patriarchal society. I routinely feel challenged to step outside my comfort zone when I write because of this book.

Who is your favorite writer? Where should people start if they want to read this person’s best work?
This isn’t a fair question—I couldn’t pick! I feel confident in saying the authors and books that have most influenced my thinking are among my favorites and are a great place to start for each author.

Where can our audience find out more about you?
I would love for folks to check out my blog. A project of love, it’s a forum for me to post my own writing and fulfill my nascent publishing dreams by sharing the work of incredible writers I know. Please check it out!

Anything else?
Words are powerful. As a writer I step into greater understanding of the responsibility I hold every single day. In an era where we are all fighting to rise above darkness, I find myself wanting to choose the words I speak and consume very, very carefully. Writers of the world, guide us into introspection and action for forces of good!

By Abigail Mariam

I'm a reader and a writer. Currently showcasing black voices. SoCal => Harvard => Oakland. Working in local government. Empowering and empowered by the people of the Bay Area, in the areas of homelessness, community development, and political action.