Today marks seven years since I started this blog and what a journey it has been. From my very first entry – Heaven’s Bounty – a poem on the beauty of nature and creation to the most recent entry – Author Encourages Readers to Join Her in the Break – on the release of a spiritual inspired devotional by a first time author, I have seen the almost natural like progression in my writing and passion for it grow stronger than ever. Ever since the days of my childhood when one would often find me with a notebook and pen in my hand given to me by my mother (herself a writer) or sitting on the bed of my late grandmother (my rock and spiritual inspiration) dictating on paper her shopping list or writing letters to members of her family overseas in the Caribbean and Americas, writing has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. It would be true to say that writing is my life and passion – for me writing is breathing – I come alive when given an opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings on the page or screen as well as being given the chance to interview and then share the stories of others who are influential in making a positive difference in the lives of others.
While everyone has an ability to write, I do believe that like many talents the world has to offer, that it is a gift from God which if used correctly can make a lasting difference in the world and in the lives of others. I thank God for inspiring me to write since childhood and for the journey He’s taken me on thus far. I am thankful to my mother who introduced me to a dazzling world of books (at home and through our local library) and to creative writers groups where I could further develop the talent which often laid buried within me. A writer and poet herself, my mother has in many ways passed on her passion to me which, with both hands, I have gladly taken hold of and run with. My brother, aunties, uncles, cousins and late grandfather have all supported me in this journey and alongside my mother and late grandmother, I cannot thank them enough.
Then there are those in the world of writing and media who have inspired and made an impact in my life which drives me to continue to do what I’m doing today. Gary Younge and Maya Wolfe Robinson (The Guardian) who ran my first opinion feature Teaching assistants are invaluable to learning – so why are we being axed? during a week where all the news, both online and in print, was heavily dominated on Brexit. Then there is Rodney Hinds (The Voice Media Group) who told me during my summer work experience there last year that the only thing keeping me back from going far in Journalism was a lack of opportunity and with that he opened a door where I have now been able to regularly contribute stories to the newspaper. News Editor, Vic Motune ran my first submitted story to The Voice – We‘re Not To Blame For Knife Crime Epidemic this time last year for which I am forever grateful.
Being an associate member of the Afrikan Heritage Writers group in my local borough, I have made and built up a network of friends and writing colleagues who are all talented within their own right and have progressed in leaps and bounds under the direction of the group founder, Ngoma Bishop – a writer and activist who raised a successful campaign which overturned local council plans to remove the name of a renowned black writer by the name of CLR James from off the newly purpose built library where we meet.
Deniece Dobson, who spotted a feature on me (aged 16 at the time) in the New Nation newspaper and through contacting the editor, offered me the opportunity to become a member of Children’s Express – a programme of learning through Journalism for young people aged 8-18. After graduating from university I would return to work there.
Antoine Allen (ITV London News) – who responded to a random Facebook message inviting him to interview a group of young people from my local church marching against youth violence and knife crime in the area.
Neil Nunes (BBC Radio) who has encouraged, advised and just been available whenever needed and is an inspiration both professionally and spiritually.
Dr Brighton Kavaloh who’s depth of knowledge in education, the law and matters of religious liberty is astounding and whom I have had the priviledge to know and assist.
Divinia Reynolds, talented teacher, author and film maker who I now assist in the Creative Writing for Evangelism Class having previously graduated under her tutelage.
Then there are the editors within the BUC, SEC, Stanborough Press and Adventist Radio London (Richard Daly, Sam Davies, David Marshall, Julian Hibbert, David Neal, Mike Johnson and Nigel Maugandize) who have supported the work I do within my local church as a PR and Communications Assistant.
Without these special people around me, my journey would not be what it is today. So, to them and the many others who have supported and encouraged me along the way, including members of my immediate, extended and church family, I say thank you and here’s to another 7 great years and beyond!
(C) Copyright 2020, Darell J Philip