We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcus Allen-Granderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marcus, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
As a writer—particularly one who dreams of being published by a major publishing house—I’m probably among the least qualified to answer this question. A while back, I remember someone saying to me that every single book that makes it through the hurdles set-up by these companies is a “miracle.” And this isn’t even factoring in the reality that being a writer of color in the book industry is its own herculean struggle. By all measures, I should’ve given up on this dream a long time ago. And yet, here I am: still dreaming, still writing. So, I have no idea how to know whether or not to keep going or give up. Cleary, my gauge is off. But I do know this: sometimes, when you have a dream that you really want, you’re going to drive straight through every red light telling you to stop, right past those “Dead End” signs signaling you to turn around. And don’t even get me started about that internal, self-doubting police patrol in your head that’ll keep trying to pull you over for daring to the break the rules, break the mold. Just know that you’ll be tempted to comply but you ultimately won’t. Why? Well, dreams will make you do wild things—and that’s okay. That’s what makes them dreams.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Right now, I’m currently working on a Young Adult novel and cookbook. “The Lost Soul of Sadie Street.” I believe this project perfectly encapsulates the spirt of my art and its purpose. This book is an unbridled celebration of the food and music traditions rooted in African-American history and culture. The story it tells is also deeply involved in the project of preservation. Throughout the past few years, we’ve lost several legendary figures who have shaped Black cultures in this country, and around the world, through food and music. As these aging generations pass on, we must do everything we can to preserve their histories and ways of life and pass them on to up and coming generations. So, when it comes to my art, my “brand” of writing/storytelling if you will, that’s what I strive to do. I know that’s not necessarily a novel calling that sets me apart; there are many others working and creating in this space. But that’s exactly the point: each of us has a responsibility to preserve the aspects of our cultures, heritages, and traditions that are life-giving, life-affirming, and life-producing. It’s a universal calling.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without question, my Shoutout is dedicated to my ancestors. Those whose names are known, and those forever lost to history. Those who, by no choice of their own, were forced to teach one of the world’s greatest masterclass in perseverance. For me, Nikki Giovanni put it best: “If we can’t have ham, we will boil chitterlings; if we are given rotten peaches, we will make cobblers; if given scraps, we will make quilts; take away our drums, and we will clap our hands. We prove the human spirit will prevail.”
Facebook: Marcus Allen-Granderson
Photography: Daniel Constant (@constantview)