Sat in the Mella Centre, Oxford Street was the perfect setting to have a sit down with Cezanne Poetess and interview about her new book. With her art stationed around the venue, Cezanne and I delved into a chat about her past and upcoming works, inspirations and thoughts on love, life and spirituality within the black community.
Who/what inspired you to write this book and why now?
I was doing a Black History month exhibition, October gone, and I’d met another single black woman who was getting a bit concerned because she was reaching her late 40’s; that she might have left it too late to start a family whilst waiting for Mr. Right. So she kind of just gave me the idea. I wanted to write a book that would help my sisters attract their soulmate and I also had the idea to ask the brothers to give their advice on what would make them put the ring on a woman’s finger. So I sent out some emails, texts, WhatsApps, and I got some really good feedback. Within 6 weeks I put this book together.
In terms of obtaining the opinions of 30 men, how did you narrow down what would be used and did you have to omit certain parts to make it more suitable for the book?
It was over 30 men and not at all! Everything went in. The way it all just came together in such a short space of time…everything that I was saying in the book, they were backing it up! So, for instance, one of the things a lot of the men were saying, on a regular basis, was to know yourself [before trying to be with someone], you need to know who you are and to know your worth and that was really interesting. I found that all of the contributions, backed up [and] complimented each other and complimented what I was saying.
There are quite a lot of self-help relationship books out there at the moment, how do you feel yours stands out from them?
I really couldn’t even answer that question because I don’t consider myself to be competing with any of those other authors that have written books or have self-help material out there. I just did this because it was something I felt to do and I just went with the inspiration. My target market is the single black woman mainly, and the work that I do is around building sustainable black relationships. So I don’t consider that I’m in competition with anybody else. I’m just doing what I know to do…what I feel to do for my community.
I felt that the book was aimed for the more mature audience. Do you feel that the younger generation(s) can apply what is said to their relationships?
Definitely, even though you’re right. It is mainly aimed at probably over 30s women. Younger women can definitely learn from it as well, because if we can get them from when they are younger, they wouldn’t make the same mistakes that we made. That’s what I was explaining in the book, that these are the things that we should be teaching our children so the next generation don’t make the same mistakes that we did.
Did you ever see yourself becoming an author, or was it something that you’ve always wanted to do?
I love writing, that was something I always liked to do, from when I was at school, but I never carried it on when I left school, because I was a blocked writer and artist for over 20 years. So it was only when I went through the process of unblocking that it all started coming out.
You refer to “The Goddess Theory” – taken from Single, Spiritual…AND Sexual – Year Four: Finding Her Self – which is something that hit me hard because you really nailed it on the head! How did you bring that theory together and why is it named the Goddess theory?
When I write a lot of it is channelled. I don’t think about what I’m writing – I just allow myself to be the vessel that the work comes through. That goes for my painting, my poetry, everything just comes through me, rather than me sitting and thinking, Ooh, what am I going to write next? I don’t have to. The Goddess Theory, I believe that part was inspired by another book, Conversation with God: Book 1. That book really changed my life and so a lot of what I was learning, I put in the book Single, Spiritual…AND Sexual. In 2007 I had reached a point in my life, where I was disillusioned. At the time I was still a practising Christian and was beginning to question everything I’d been taught to believe. So I asked God for the truth and so everything I’d learned since, in terms of creative power of our thoughts, universals laws, my African ancestry, I put it in Single, Spiritual…AND Sexual.
You mention the ‘Law of Attraction’, which the book The Secret is based on, is that something you have read and could relate to?
Yes, that was one of the books and DVDs that I referenced. That was the first thing that came to me when I asked God for the truth, and that’s where I first learned that my thoughts were creative. It was like “how come nobody has told me that before?”
That’s exactly how I felt! I started reading it a couple of weeks ago, and even though it takes a while to change your frame of mind, you can do it…
Yes! Because we have been so programmed to think a certain way, and the English language a lot of the words that we use are disempowering. So it’s like having to reprogram your whole way of thinking, your whole way of speaking, in order to make the progress that we want to make in life…it’s a daily challenge. It’s a renewing of the whole mind!
What is next for Cezanne Poetess?
I’m going to Ghana for 3 months to do some research for my next book. I believe that we have to go back to our way of dealing with ourselves, our relationships as black men and black women. Taking on this Eurocentric way of dealing with our relationships isn’t working for us! My aim is to rediscover how our relationships were before they were affected by slavery and colonialism. I’ll feed that into my next book, the sequel to Single, Spiritual…AND Sexual, as well as a follow up to, How to Get a Ring on Your Finger. That book was aimed at helping us to get together as black men and women. The next book is going to be how to sustain our relationships, once we get together. So I’ll be interviewing black couples who have been together for at least 8-10 years and getting them to give that advice.
To purchase Cezanne Poetess’ books go to her website journeyofasister.com