For Breana

· Trey Songz

· Blue

· Miami

“Here goes nothing,” I muttered, ripping open the ocean blue envelope that had been clutched in my hands for the past fifteen minutes since I’d come back in the house from my walk.

Dear Miss Tyshema Earvin,

We are pleased to extend the invitation for you to join us in Miami for the 4thannual In Your Own Words writers workshop...

All other words in the lengthy letter after that blurred as my eyes immediately filled with tears.

"I finally made it," I whispered to myself before, yelling the words out again louder this time, "I finally fucking made it!"

"Girl, what are you in here yelling about?" My mother asked, walking into my room.

I'd jumped from my desk chair and had begun doing my happy dance—which was half cabbage patch, half snake, and wholly ridiculous. All of my hard work had finally paid off...or was well on its way to paying off, I hoped. Two years ago, I quit my permanent job in search of finding myself and making moves to live out my dreams. I'd had some money set aside in savings, but not much so I gave up my gorgeous apartment downtown and moved back into my childhood bedroom, much to my mother’s delight. She worried about me incessantly since, in her words, “you aint got no man, no friends, what is even keeping you there?”

She was wrong because I did have friends and…half of a man, sorta. It was a complicated situation that was best left unexplained. But none of that was important as the thing I’d been working toward since I’d finally blown my life up on some Trey Songz-esque “Just Gotta Make It” type shit was finally coming to fruition. If things went how I hoped they would, I’d no longer just have a dollar and a dream…I’d have a ten-thousand-dollar advance and a three-book writing contract. In Your Own Words was a combination of a craft workshop and writers competition, with the most superior writers in the six represented genres attending with the possibility of leaving as a soon-to-be published author.

“I did it, mommy!” I exclaimed, pulling her into a tight embrace, “I’m finally on my way to making you proud…”

For Brittney

For Asia

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