Last time we spoke with actor Edwin Freeman about urban fashion and his upcoming film and television projects. Freeman recently released his first self published book, a collection of original inspirational poems titled “Enlightenment”. He decided to share with us more about his latest book project.
KL: Hey Edwin nice speaking with you again, so now since we last spoke with you I understand that you’ve been keeping busy working on a few projects. Now your latest project is a book, but not just any book, but a book of original poems. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the book?
EF: Nice speaking with you as well, I actually wrote these poems over ten years ago, at a time in my life where I was going through a lot of outer turmoil. I was in my early twenties and a lot of my friends were dying or getting sent to prison, I was making that transition from teenager to young adult and I had a whole lot on my mind. I was basically searching for answers in life, answers that I couldn’t find externally, so I was forced to turn inward for my answers. I basically settled down, went into a private, quiet space, did some soul searching and started to write down my thoughts, the result was this collection of poems that I titled “Enlightenment: An Inward Journey Through Life’s Rough Terrain”.
KL: How many poems in total did you write for the book, and how did you go about choosing which ones to use in the book?
EF: Originally I had over a hundred poems, which ended up getting narrowed down to twenty nine poems. I basically took the poems that I thought were more relevant to the title and what I was trying to present and went with those. I plan on publishing the rest of the poems at a later date. I’m at a point where I want to share my poems with the world, because I believe that there’s someone, somewhere who’s wrestling with some of the same issues that I was at the time that I created them and through my writings they may be able to find some of the answers that they are searching for or at least get lead in the right direction.
KL: Which poem(s) took you the longest to develop? What were some of the challenges you faced in crafting the poems?
EF: As I just mentioned, I wrote these poems at a time where a lot was happening in my life. I was losing a lot of friends to death and prison, my uncle Melvin D. Freeman who I dedicated the book to had just passed away and I was at a breaking point in my life, where my only choice was to turn inward or end up dead or in jail myself. I chose to focus my energies inward and I created this body of work over a period of eight to twelve months. The only real challenge that I faced was leaving a life that I was so used to and going into a private, quiet space and documenting my feelings and thoughts. Once I got to the point where doing that was easy I was okay, my thoughts just flowed.
KL: Which was your favorite poem to write?
EF: To keep it totally real with you, I don’t have a particular favorite. They are all my thoughts, how I feel about different situations. Some happy, some gloomy, others fall somewhere in between, but all of them are very introspective. I simply recorded my thoughts, put them into poetry form and published them for the world to see, they are all very personal to me.
KL: Why did you choose to self publish rather than try to release the poems through literary magazines, and other more mainstream outlets?
EF: I’m all about being on the cutting-edge of the digital revolution, with creations like Lulu.com, Amazon’s Kindle Store and the Apple iBook Store, it’s not at all necessary to publish books the traditional way. Besides I think that publishing books in the eBook format, gives the author a whole lot more creative control. It’s sort of like what Mp3s did to the music game. Once you publish your books via these outlets and do your promotions, it’s pretty much a done deal.
KL: Who are some of the poets from the past and present whose work that you admire and why?
EF: Some of my favorite poets are Khalil Gibran, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker and my personal favorite Sister Helen out of Brooklyn, New York. These are the poets that inspired me and my work the most, because their poems are so profound.
KL: So I’m sure that you’re aware that in the past hip hop artist Tupac Shakur released a book containing a collection of original poems. What is your take on hip hop artists releasing “poetry” books versus simply writing rap lyrics?
EF: It’s funny that you brought that up, because most of my poems were actually song lyrics that I never got to record, leftover rap lyrics that I still wanted to share with the world. I think it’s great for hip hop artists to release poetry books, because at the end of the day, rap is poetry and poetry is rap. We should choose to express ourselves in any way possible, whether it’s music, the spoken word or the written word, the aim is to get it out there, to share it with the world. Hopefully other hip hop artists will do the same thing, because it makes sense plus there’s a huge market for it.
KL: What message would you like readers to come away with after reading your collection?
EF: That no matter what you’re going through or what you’re faced with in life, the Creator already provided the answers. All you have to do is settle down, look deep inside of yourself and you will find the answers. Whatever they may be, when you do you will be enlightened, because that’s what enlightenment is all about, self-discovery. I believe that things whether we perceive them as good or bad, take place in our outer-lives, so that we will look within and become familiar with ourselves, our real-selves, the Supreme life force that’s present in each and every one of us. Which if you look closely was the Universal message of all of the enlightened teachers that the Creator sent to the world to help redeem fallen humanity.
KL: Where can readers find a copy of “Enlightenment”?
EF: The E-book can be purchased online at: www.lulu.com/product/ebook/enlightenment/14265441, as well as from Amazon’s Kindle Store and the Apple iBook Store. The hard copy will be available later this year.
KL: Thank You.
EF: Anytime. Peace!!