We had the good fortune of connecting with Camryn Wells and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Camryn, can you give our readers an introduction to your business?
My first book in The Color, Feel, Play Series is titled “What Color is Your Day?” and it was inspired by the very real and ever-changing emotions that we ALL experience but especially children. When my son was 2 years old, he was going through a bedtime transition and he started feeling certain things for the first time: fear, discomfort, anger. I wanted to make sure he not only knew how to appropriately express these feelings but that he felt safe and supported exploring them. As I started talking to more parents, teachers and caretakers, I realized that this was a common conversation. So I wanted to share my experiences and offer support from the perspective of a parent raising young children.
While book two in the series, The Memory of Play, is certainly a children’s book, the message is equally for adults. Children are often encouraged to play and have fun but adults can easily forget the importance of play. So this book was a shared reminder to adults and children to play often and play together.
Let’s talk work? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started writing poetry when I was ten and performed my first pieces when I was twelve years old. At that time, I didn’t know it was called spoken word poetry, I just knew I loved to write, and I absolutely loved the way it made me feel. I could actually FEEL the words on the paper, the rhythm and rhyme. I continued performing through my twenties, connecting in the local art scene and finding local open mic events when I would travel. My creativity became somewhat dormant after I was diagnosed with MS but mostly after I had children. My priorities changed and while I would still write a poem here or there, I unintentionally disallowed myself to have a personal, creative outlet. It was truly the love for my child that sparked my desire to write again, and my desire to write a poem about our experience as mother and son turned into my first book, What Color is Your Day?. I’ve always known that books can leave a lasting impression on readers but as an author, I am seeing that truth from a very new and insightful lens. I love hearing that my book is a favorite because of the message or the beautiful illustrations. I love seeing videos of families or teachers reading together. I love hearing adults tell me that the book(s) meant more to them than they were anticipating. I have a loud voice and gentle spirit, and like most artist, I’m sensitive about my sh*t 😉 But I’ve never felt as good as I have in the newly renovated, creative space as a mother, author and poet.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is hard and I certainly won’t do my city justice by naming only a few places but I’ll certainly try. Houston is FILLED with culture so I’d treat them to all the sights, sounds and smells that gives Houston its beauty. We’d eat all day, every day: Bellaire for ALL the Asian Cuisine…seriously, its hard to go wrong. Backstreet Cafe is a classic Houston stop with an awesome vibe. Lucille’s…the fried chicken is where its at. And we have to get soul food: Ox tails, collard greens, cornbread…we might just go to my mom’s house for that. We’d spend another day bouncing around museums and galleries but wouldn’t even make a dent: Bisong Gallery, Project Row Houses, The Gite Gallery, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Buffalo Soldiers Museum, Art Car Museum, The Houston Museum of African American Culture, Asia Society Texas Center to name a few. We’d also pop in and out of the car to look at mural art throughout the city because that truly never gets old. We’d catch a show, hopefully at Miller Outdoor Theater. And hopefully we’d catch a festival or two depending on the season: Bayou City Art Festival, Texas Renaissance Festival, The Houston Art Car Parade, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Houston International Jazz Festival. I mean there just isn’t enough time to take it all in but man is it good.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where do I even begin? My mom. Many people dedicate their work to their mom and there is a reason for that. Being a mother is a magical gift and I am blessed to have the support and unconditional love of mine. My dad has been equally supportive of my work and has always been my biggest cheerleader when it comes to my “gift” as a spoken word artist. My dear husband who has created a beautiful life for us by design and our children who bring us to humble tears of gratitude simply by being. A huge thank you to all of the creatives I’ve worked with to make my literary dream a reality; my publisher, Laurie, who took a risk on my crazy idea and helped me find my confidence as a new author; Ellie, the magnificent and insanely talented illustrator of the series who made my words come to life on the page; my huge and loving family who has always accepted my art even if they don’t understand it all the time; my friends who remain hype about any and everything I put out; to my Houston community – my people, my heart, my home; my young readers and families for trusting and loving my work as much as I love creating.
Pin Lim / Forest Photography Joe Lipp / Blue Mason Photography