Writer name: Karen Francis
Featured Work 1: Distracted By the Past? Daunted By the Future? Find Your Present In South Africa, article on Huffington Post
We are excited this week to feature the beautiful written work of Karen Francis. From pieces ranging from a nourishing journey through South Africa (linked above), to Life Lessons From ‘Game of Thrones’: How Curbing Your Ego Can Win You an Army — and the Crown, the multi-talented Karen Francis writes thought-provoking works on a variety of cultural topics in an insightful, soulful voice. She carried out an engaging interview with The Roots co-founder and lead vocalist Tariq Trotter (below), in which she shares that he has many creative gifts beyond his renowned emcee skills; you’ll have to check out the article on Huff Post to learn what they are.
Featured Work 2: Thought and Vision: A Conversation with Roots Vocalist Tariq Trotter
Questions for the Writer:
1. What is writing to you?
Freedom. I become completely lost when I write. The world around me melts away and five hours later, I look up at the clock and marvel at how much time has elapsed. And what’s more — at the end of that time, there is work to be read and communicated and shared. It’s one of the only things in life that can provide me with such a meaningful escape.
2. What did you make in the past, and why?
I started writing songs and poems when I was eight years old. Why, I’m not sure, but there was a voice inside that had something to say so I grabbed a pencil and jotted the words down. Other times, I would hear a melody and the words would just come — no pencil required. I still remember the lyrics to some of the songs and they make me chuckle to this day. My poems were more heavy hitting. I wrote one in 3rd grade about the injustice of homelessness and how inexplicable it was to me. I remember my teacher being completely stunned. By college, my work had been published a few times over and I was performing my poetry at spoken word events. In the past, I’ve also dabbled in choreography, playwriting, acting and painting. Creative expression has always felt a bit like oxygen to me — vital, necessary, indispensable.
3. What are you making now, and why?
For the last few years I’ve been writing memoir and cultural critiques for various digital publications. I’m still expressing myself creatively but in an accessible medium that allows me to share and communicate easily with my readers. Everyone loves culture — at least some aspect of it — so cultural exploration engenders connection in a way that is incredibly rewarding. I’ve also done script writing for various productions, and I’ve enjoyed that work immensely.
4. What are your hopes for the future?
When I write now, there has to be a deeper purpose and significance to the writing for me. In the future, I will continue to maintain that standard — even if it means writing less frequently. Traveling is a wonderful privilege and I want to share it with everyone, including those who have the interest but perhaps not the ability to go themselves. I hope to incorporate writing more when I travel (as I did on a recent trip to South Africa). I will also continue my script writing. Currently, I am working on two television series — one that is a collaboration and another that is a personal project. I look forward to sharing those soon.
I spoke about purpose earlier; I do believe it is the secret to a fulfilling life and lasting legacy. John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, once said, “[i]f my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.” I fully subscribe to that statement and I try to be mindful of it in my writing life and elsewhere.
Writer Supplied Background:
Purpose and passion. As a blogger for the Huffington Post, it is clear that whenever Karen Francis writes, it is about a topic that is close to her heart. Her work explores various cultural phenomena. In Karen’s writing it is not uncommon to find causes such as feminism and racial equality freely intermingled with her passion for music, art or travel. Karen believes that ‘culture speaks,’ and her work seeks to discover what that message is, and in turn, what that message communicates about us as a people, as a society and as a world.
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