Have your thoughts ever been bombarded with uncontrollable voices that keep you from noticing and acknowledging the true power and potential that rests deep inside of us? The enemy tries to attack us in this way. Since he cannot stop us, he will use materialistic things, wealth, worldly fame, lust, and many other distractions to keep us from advancing towards our God-designed purpose in life. What do you do when you feel like you have sinned to the point where it seems like God doesn’t love you anymore? Maybe you have been so far gone and thought you could never come back? This unique narrative walks you through the good and the bad choices of a young man’s life as he delves into the pits of darkness and tries to find his way back. Walk with him on this amazing journey through his college years. Remember, God gives us all free will and the life you live IS poetry. Who is your author?
His name was Spook. He was seven years older than me and he had everybody, me, all of my friends and cousins wanting to be just like him when we grew up; he was a ghetto superstar. His real name was Ahman, but nobody but the adults in our family ever called him that. Because of his pitch-black skin tone, everybody else called him Spook. He was a stocky 6’1” with a wide, round face like a button. He had a small slit down the middle of his chin, giving it the appearance of a small bottom. His thin mustache alined with the sides of his mouth formed a picture perfect go-t. Spook was the man, even going back to his younger years.
He was a star football player for his high school and that gave him the girls and popularity that nerds envied. I remember going to his football games with my family when I was younger. Every time he touched the ball, all the kids would yell “Spooooook!!!” In our eyes, he was a true superstar. He was born and raised in Milwaukee, but for some reason he spoke with a southern accent. He used to say it was because he spent summers in Alabama with his granny and the accent they used down there stuck to him. The truth be told, that accent made him even cooler in the eyes of my cousins and myself. It further separated him from everybody else in Milwaukee.
We used to purposely mangle and drag out our words just so we could sound like Spook. When I did it around my mom, she would slap me in the back of my head and say, “boy stop talking like that! You are from Milwaukee!” I back-talked her under my breath in a southern accent when she walked away.
I would beg my mom to let me go spend the night over Auntie Sweet’s house so I could chill with Spook. He could do everything I couldn’t do at home; listen to rap music, watch Beavis and Butthead, eat cereal late at night and play video games until he fell asleep. Whenever I got the chance to get out and go over his house, I’d relish in it like the few times I got to spend with my biological father. The times when my mom wouldn’t let me go, I’d sneak on the phone and call Auntie Sweets so she could try and persuade my mom to change her mind. I would pretend like I hung up the phone and listen to their conversation, “Come on Sherrell, he just wants to get out the house. Let that boy come hang out with his family.” I remember staying on the phone silently begging my mom to let me to go. It didn’t work that often, but when it did, my bags were packed and I was standing at the door with my coat on before she could even get off the phone.
Tyran Saffold Jr was born in Milwaukee, WI. At the age of 8, he wrote his first fiction novel about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Even though it was only two pages long, it showed a glimpse of the career he was to have. From that point on, his passion for writing began to increase. He started a basketball magazine in middle school by cutting out magazine pictures and pasting them onto white paper and allowing his imagination to create stories behind the picture. It wasnt much, but it was a continuation of a gift that would never leave him and was slowly being recognized. By his senior year in High School, he excelled in all of his English classes and caught his creative writing teacher’s attention with his poetry and short stories. His teacher consistently recommended him to submit most of what he wrote for contests, but he usually just ignored his teacher because he still didnt believe in his own gift. However, when he got to College, he completely amazed his poetry professors as he took classes that catered towards his gift. He was easily a class standout, writing his first poems, “Ink Love” and “Brownskinn Lady.” Eventually, he had notebooks upon notebooks of poetry all comprised during his years in College. During his senior year, his attention shifted a little bit and he began writin his first novel, “Poetry: The Story of His will vs Our will”, which originally began as a short story contest. After he missed the deadline, kept writing and it turned into a 29-Chapter novel. While still loving poetry, he found his true love to be writing as he desires to tell unique stories through his complex imagination. He says, “Writing is my way of getting away from the stresses of life. You all just think you’re reading a regular story, but its more than that. You all are actually reading my escape.”
Get to know Tyran:
The title you chose is very unconventional. Knowing it may cause some people to think this is a book of poetry, why did you name it that?
Because, according to Ephesians 2.8, we are God’s poetry. The life we live is poetry, so even if you’re not a poet or anything, you are still writing poetry by living your life. Some poetry is violent, some is happy, some is ambiguous, some is abstract and hard to understand. There are many different types of poetry, so, that’s why I named it that. Some say it was too deep for a title, but I had to stay true to what I felt. We are poetry. Our lives are beautiful in their own way just like each poem is.
Interesting. So, how long did it take you to write this novel?
It took me about five years. See, im a procrastinator, so it really shouldn’t have taken me that long. It was like an off and on relationship. Some days, I felt like writing and I would write pages and pages without interruption. Then, I would go like a couple months without writing anything. It’s not the most productive way to do it, but I finally got it done.
Now, this story is based on real life events. What were some of the reactions of people close to you who read it?
Maaaan, let me tell you. My mom called me like every five minutes talkin about, “is this real?”, “did this happen?”, “boy, I know you didn’t do that, you betta tell me the truth!” It was crazy! My mom don’t play and I had to calm her down a number a times, she had a hard time with it man because the stuff is so real. Even the things that I embellished seemed real to her, too. Most people I talked to read the book in about 4 or 5 days, but it took her a couple weeks. She said it was a lot for her to take in because a lot of the stuff that happened to me, she didn’t know about.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
I was at my grandmothers house reading a jet magazine. There was a short story contest and I was like, “cool, I’ll enter that.” I didn’t pay attention to the deadline tho, so a couple days later, I realized that I had missed it. I had a couple pages already written though, so I just kept going. Five years and twenty-nine chapters later, my first novel was complete. Outside of that, I was influenced heavily by Walter Mosley. His books Big Bad Brawly Brown, White Butterfly, Devil in a Blue Dress. I loved his style of writing. That’s where I got it from. I saw how he kept it genuine in his dialogue, so I did the same. Other than him, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Rosetti, Henry Dumas, Chester Himes, just to name a few. Those people primarily influenced my spoken word though. I’ve borrowed a bit from all of them.
I’ve heard that you were ashamed of this book. Why?
Well, I felt like it was too explicit, you know. I wrote this at a time in my life when I was influenced by the wrong crowd. I was defiantly lukewarm and I showed it in the novel. I showed the regressions and progressions I made in my walk with Christ. It’s really not a book I can promote in the church because of the content, so because of that, I felt like it was a failure. I felt like I let people down because of how real it kept it. Like, I really put you in a lukewarm mindset because that is where I was at the time. However, I let people read it. Random people I didn’t know because I wanted unbiased opinions. They would come back to me and tell me how they learned so many lessons from it and how the book was so wonderfully written and how descriptive it was. Then they proceed to tell me that I need to stop sitting on this book and really promote it like I should so it could get the attention it deserves. That explains why I’m here now. I decided to let people read my “poetry.” The good, the bad and the ugly.
How have you grown since you have written this book?
I have matured a lot in my writings and it is because of my growth spiritually and just overall, as a man. I was 24 when I wrote this, im 31 now, so a lot has changed. My writings have become much more mature and I have learned to be a little more discreet in word choice. I realize that everyone could not read my first novel because of the language and things of that nature, so my focus now is to reach a broader audience. I still have the grittiness of whatever it is that I’m describing, but I just toned down the language. I am not a 24 year-old lukewarm, College student anymore, so that will also reflect in my writings through topics and word-choice. The only thing that hasn’t changed is my imagination. It is still as vivid as the day it was when I played football by myself as a child and I placed myself in an arena, with a cheering crowd, referees and 21 other players on the field with me at the same time. (laughing) I know it sounds crazy, but my imagination was strong and it still is. When I write, I literally feel like im in another place and I love that. It’s my escape from life whenever I need it. I don’t go to the club, I don’t party, I just write. That’s how I escape. When you guys read these pages, most times, I’m goin through very rough moments of my life. It’s seems like the harder im pressed in life, the more vivid my descriptions are because I’m trying that much harder to escape. I guess its kind of deep when you think about it.
What do you have coming up?
Well, I have a few plays that im running again next year in Dallas, TX. The titles are “The Feel Good Gospel” and the sequel to it, “The Feel Real Good Gospel”. Most plays don’t have sequels, but this one will. I also have a collection of skits im producing based on some of my Spoken-Word pieces. Along with that, I have 30 chapters of my next novel written. It takes place in the Harlem Renaissance era and I really studied that time period so I could make things as accurate as possible. I take this form of spoken word we have now and put it back in that era. My imagination runs wild in it and im really excited about it! It is a lot less explicit, but still highly descriptive. I am also planning to write Volume 2 of my first novel, “Poetry.” This one will be titled, “Wrestling with angels.” I got a lot of plans and prayerfully, they take off the way I desire so I can support my wife and my family the way I desire to do. Everyone wants to have a job they go to that they love to do. It makes life just a little bit easier when it’s that way. I pray my ambition leads me down that road, but like God says, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time.” The thing is, nobody but him really knows when “due time” will come. Patience.
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