Buddah Desmond’s New Poetry Collection, Coming Up From the Downside: Finding Joy in Our Song, is Out Now!

The celebration continues! Happy to announce that my latest poetry collection, Coming Up From the Downside: Finding Joy in Our Song, is out now!

Coming Up From the Downside is about adversity, healing, resilience, and faith. It’s about overcoming pain, loss, depression, health issues, and heartbreak to get to real love and the joy that sustains us through it all. It’s the third and final book in what I’m calling “The Home Within” trilogy, which was preceded by 2020’s From The Inside Out: A Poetry Collection and 2023’s Everything I Miss(ed) At Home.

The vast majority of the poems in this book were written in the thick of the pandemic. One of the bleakest periods that completely changed my life, and the lives of so many others. It was a season that kept giving lesson after lesson after lesson in the midst of getting up from the downside.

Coming Up From the Downside was published by Liquid Cat Publishing. The cover was designed Black Author Brand. Extremely grateful to my publisher’s team and the Black Author Brand team for their love, support, encouragement, guidance, and great work throughout this process!

And thank you so much for all who’ve supported me along the way. Words aren’t enough to express my gratitude.

Coming Up From the Downside: Finding Joy in Our Song is available for purchase at Amazon. Get into it!

Much Love + Many Blessings! ~ Buddah Desmond

I’ll Be Reading at the DC Metro Scholastic Writing Awards – 3/11/2014


It’s with great happiness that I announce I’ve been selected to read a few works by this year’s American Voice Nominees at the 2014 DC Metro Scholastic Writing Awards!  Performing, giving back, and highlighting some of the Greater Washington Area’s up-and-coming writers—does it get any better than that?

Each year, students in grades 7-12 are encouraged to participate in the The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Almost 200,000 students enter their art and writing “for review by panels of art and writing professionals, and compete for recognition, scholarships, and publication opportunities” (Writopia Lab | Scholastic Writing Awards).  2.5 million students have been awarded over $25 million in cash awards and scholarships since 1923.  Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards Alumni include Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, and Zac Posen.

Writopia Lab was selected by the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers to serve as the Scholastic Writing Awards Regional Affiliate in the Greater Washington Area.  The Scholastic Writing Awards serve as not only a celebration, but also a platform for students to creatively express themselves with their budding talents.

The Scholastic Writing Awards will be held: March 11, 2014 | 6:30PM to 8:30PM | Artisphere’s Spectrum Theater | 1611 N. Kent Street Arlington, VA 22209.  The event is open to the public.  If you’re in the area, please come celebrate the brilliant talents of some of the DC-Area’s most promising teen writers.

Congrats to all of the nominees and winners!

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

The Charm and Brilliance of Zadie Smith

Image courtesy of the Black Enterprise site.
A little over a week ago, my partner and I attended a reading by the charming, brilliant writer Zadie Smith.  This reading, sponsored by Politics and Prose and Sixth & I, was in support of her latest novel NW.  Smith read two passages from NW and followed by answering questions by members of the audience.  The passages from NW showcased Smith’s knack for witty, insightful dialogue between characters living in a contemporary world still very much at odds with race, class, and other social issues of the day.  Works of fiction (and non-fiction) that provide a deeper look into our lives and provide social commentary on the very issues affecting us have always intrigued me.  Not having read the work yet, Smith’s reading of these NW passages only further heightened my interest.
What was also interesting was learning more about Smith’s process as a writer during Q&A with the audience.  When asked about character development and if she’s unable to release herself from her characters after completing her works, she said she’d never had that experience.  Her focus when writing is “making sentences…and [making] them as well as [she] can.”  Her characters develop as her writing develops.  Sometimes she hears the voices of her characters before she writes them.  Her method allows her to focus more on the craft (on good writing).  There’s a sort of practicality to this, as I’m sure it allows Smith to let the her writing flow freely.  While characters typically serve as projections of self, Smith takes slivers of herself and others (here and there) and expounds upon them to develop her characters.
Smith says her writing (and editing) is about control.  She starts on the first page and doesn’t stop until she gets to the last page.  She brought up the fact that natural flow can really help you indulge yourself, but you have to learn how to control it.  Her writing, she says, “came out of her reading…a side effect like when you squeeze an orange for juice.”  Because she read all the time, her writing was influenced by what she read.  As writers, the rule thumb that we often follow (instinctively) is that we write what we want to read.  As a recommendation, Smith says it’s pertinent that writers read as much as they can.  
When asked about pop culture references in her work , she says they have to be appropriate, telling, and central to the characters.  She says, “It’s part of the fabric of these character’s minds, who they are and what they do.”  Not a fan of throwaway references, she hilariously quipped that she would not be including Honey Boo Boo in any of her novels. 
After attending this reading, I developed a deeper respect and appreciation for Zadie Smith.  Instead of following formulas (like some of her peers), it’s clear that she challenges herself with each work.  She takes risks.  She writes stories that require us to really think about our world and how we coexist within it.  Smith’s style and voice, I believe, will continue to push boundaries in the literary worldfurther solidifying her as one of the best writers of her generation.

Day 10: Julia Cameron’s "The Artist’s Way Every Day"

For the last few weeks I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living.  I find the information to be very inspiring, motivating, and refreshing.   Being a creative, artistic person – this is the jump start I need to begin the new year.  I’ve noticed since late last summer that I’ve had very few opportunities to delve deeply into my creative self.  And it’s been killing me.  I feel like I’ve been neglecting a part of myself that I’ve otherwise had no problem nourishing.  And considering the fact that I started nourishing this part of myself at the early age of four – I’m like, “What the hell happened?”  But I won’t fret.  I’ve never been one to force my creative self into doing something just to do it.  I have to feel it.  I have to be in the mood.  Each time I force myself into doing anything in this regard I hate the outcome.  And whatever is produced usually goes in the trash.  I realize that I need to give my creative self the space to process, exist, and grow.  And that I need to uplift and inspire my creative self just like I would any other component of my being.  I can move on now with a better perspective.  Here are a few takeaways from the book.

From January 11: “We expect our artist to be able to function without giving it what it needs to do so. An artist requires the upkeep of creative solitude. An artist requires the healing of time alone” (p. 17).

From January 13: “Writing goes much better when we don’t work at it so much. When we give ourselves the permission to just hang out on the page” (p. 19).

From January 15: “When we open ourselves to something or someone greater than ourselves working through us, we paradoxically open ourselves to our own greatest selves” (p. 21).

Now playing: Mary J. Blige – Each Tear
via FoxyTunes