I tell stories to illustrate all the places where the love of God shows up in our daily lives
Michele R. Brown
AUTHOR & STORYTELLER
I’m a purveyor of words. I love their weight, impact, elegance, and grace. They can change hearts and minds. Words can call a nation to war or peace. Words have power. They can cut deeper than any knife. Gathered together in one place, they can tell a powerful story - now it’s time to tell mine – political operative, servant of national leaders, student, preacher, dog lover, cinephile, Believer, Black woman, daddy’s girl and believer in all things MARVEL.
I am a master storyteller and dog lover committed to telling stories that make you laugh, reconsider, and pursue joy. Someone must remind us of our greatness and our infinite possibility. My heart and journals are full of characters, legends, gossip and whimsy. It’s time to write. It’s also time to talk. It’s time to gather around the kitchen table and chop it up about the issues and topics that matter. I’m here for it. Join me!
I tell stories that matter about people that probably think they don't
Iconic author, Isabel Allende, says of her biography that - it is strange to write it because dates, events, and achievements are not the sum total of her life. In fact, her biography begins in the chambers of her heart and those details have no place in a biography – and I agree. My resume can chronicle the details of my achievements such as they are…but here…here I want to capture something more important – how the events of my life feel and matter and who the fairies are that sprinkled the pixie dust on me and compelled me to pick up my pen.
My life is gloriously complicated and has been from the beginning. It meanders along a magical path of gnarly subjects, pain, self-discovery, deliverance, catapults, and amazing revelations. I trust it will continue to do so until its victorious end.
I’m the only child of one set of parents and the second of five for another. See, told you it was complicated. I’m the adopted daughter of Woody Brown and his wife Marina. My Daddy walked on water and touched the sun. He was a superhero. I was adopted as an infant and became the light of their lives. I am also the birth daughter of the late, Linda Clyburn and sperm donor (not literally), Kenneth Gladden. Two lovely people whom I’ve met and hold dear.
You could say that the circumstances of my birth (only child) and my educational experiences led me to writing. As an only child, I was often alone and my mom was a reader, so I read a lot too and loved it. There was also the unlucky coincidence of my mom going back to college as I entered middle school. She felt the need to teach me everything she was learning. One middle school terror dome wasn’t enough? All of my papers graded multiple times in a time before the computer. No, dinosaurs did not walk the earth. While I always hated her methods, my mother’s editing perfected the articulation of my thoughts and my grades reflected her heavy-handed presence.
Augustus Jones, teacher of seventh-grade English taught me the mechanics of grammar which included how to diagram sentences. When grammar’s nuances challenge me, I can still do it. Ninth grade English teacher, Ann Hall taught me the power of words, exposed me to great Black writers, and taught me that vocabulary was more than a list to be memorized for quizzes. It was the content of an arsenal for self-expression. Yet, it was the reading aloud of Watership Down in my 11th grade English Literature class that exposed me to the classics and the power of words to evoke emotion and calm hormones. My teacher, Pamela Allen read this classic to us every Friday and we sat quietly to listen to her do it – both miracles. This simple ritual taught me the power of the narrative because we’d remember from week to week each chapter’s unfolding and implications. I learned about political satire and nuanced meanings too when we read Animal Farm. My mother birthed in me a love of words, my teachers took that love and matured it and showed me what it could be. I am eternally grateful for them.
I grew into a lover of words and a storyteller. The verbal gift comes from my Daddy. He could sure spin a yarn. If provoked, these stories could grow to Jurassic Park level tales of national, global and even intergalactic importance.
My love of language intermingled with global affairs and I attended The George Washington University to pursue a degree in international affairs. I figured I had a gift since I was writing my papers and many of my dorm mates as well. I served at the U.S. Department of State in a special intern program and upon graduation worked there.
My graduate work at NYU happened because of a man – there I said it. I love film to this day because of him and that’s ok. Two Masters degrees in cinema and cultural studies later, I am officially a hardcore cinephile trained in critical race theory and a rich Gallatin School arts and humanities tradition. NYC was its own classroom. I got the film bug and a whole new world opened up. Economic necessity and distraction kept me from the PhD and an academic life because my national political career beckoned but I can still expertly write film reviews.
Ultimately, my personal journaling took a turn when I was led to chronicle the purchase process of a Weim puppy in a strange city known as Oakland, California. The book and the blog, Adventures in Gideon continues to be a moment and a work that I am most proud of. Gideon the wonder pup taught me about love and life in glorious ways and they deserved to be shared. I’d built quite a following before life and distraction halted the blog. See the pattern?
Here’s the punchline to all these events – no more distractions.
I’m picking up my pen again and this time, it will stay in my hand. I was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul I’m Speaking Now – Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope. This was a kiss on the cheek from God. The book comes out on June 1, 2021.
I’m completing a novel and returning to my creative life with a vengeance. This is my story. I cannot wait to hear yours.