Faithwalk: She looks just like me

I’m black on the inside.

Last week, when I arrived at the ACFW conference, in Dallas, Texas, I looked around and no one looked like me that is my skin color and my hair texture. I admit, I thought I made a grave mistake attending. Lets face it; no one wants to feel excluded when they enter a room of strangers, especially among 625 people during a four-day conference. I expected cliques, and well-to-do authors sticking with those they knew, after all these were church folks. (Okay I won’t go there.) Anyway, I forged ahead because in reality this crowd was all made in the image of God, hence we all looked alike and wrote varied kinds of fiction. I have to admit I confessed my trepidation to a few people.

However, when I said no one looks like me to Rachel, she said, “I’m black on the inside.”

Now, when I met Rachel she was posing with a friend, I jumped in her photo and said, “You need a bit of color.”  They laughed and snapped the photo. Then I turned to Rachel, and said, “Girl, this morning while you were leading worship I told the Lord you needed a bit of soul. I wanted to talk with you about putting a bit of ump in your worship.”

Rachel laughed. I laughed.

Because on stage Rachel kicked it up a notch with a body wave and booming voice: “God loves me, and I look gooood.”

At worship service, I repeated the mantra: “Cause, I too knew God loved me, and I looked goooood.”

“Let’s take a photo together,” Rachel said.

I handed my iphone to a man.  “She looks just like me,” I said to Rachel.

Nichole writes motivating fiction. She talks more than I do. If you know me, you know that’s a lot of talking.

By the way, six black writers attended the conference. I only got to know two of those writers: Nichole (I’m standing beside  her in a chair, she’s much taller than me) and Jacqueline (We’re both wearing purple and planning to attend a black writer’s conference together).

I dreaded being the only black writer simply because writers, agents, editors, publishers and mentors need to have a common connection, other than writing, but a relationship. Yes, my goal was to pitch my work to agents and editors, to come home with business cards that allowed me to send manuscripts and proposals for consideration. Yet what I learned: without a relationship, without editors and agents understanding who I am, my concerns, and my culture a relationship is null and void.

Honestly, I did get snubbed a few times by writers, an agent and an editor at the breakfast table and in the elevator. And I was not paranoid, I spoke they didn’t. Even a few people who looked like me snubbed me.

Despite my trepidation, I met awesome people, made great contacts (will let you know the outcomes if I get book contracts), have a stack of business cards to increase my blog followers, and found someone who looks like me.

Jacqueline lives in Mississippi and this is not her first ACFW conference. I can’t wait to read her story set in early 1930s of Chicago.

BTW: at the airport Rachel and I chatted about a few black Christian authors. Now I need to introduce her to the music of Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Youthful Praise to name a few.

Isn’t it good to be confident in who you are, and know who you serve: God not people?

12 thoughts on “Faithwalk: She looks just like me

  1. Thanks for sharing, Angela. It’s hards walking to a room that size with that many people. So glad you came. Next year bring more. The men used to feel that way. There literally were a couple. Then each year it’s grown. We need all voices and perspective, cultures and backgrounds if we’re going to reach a lost world through our books. Hugs!

    • Great idea, Cara. Ironically, I did attend to meet more, wrong forum for those voices and perspectives. However, God always delivers in His timing. I was blessed with what He had for me at this ACFW conference. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. So glad your conference experience turned out to be one of success! Too many people judge on the outside when it is the inside that really matters!

  3. Hi Angela! I saw Rachel’s tweet to this blog post, and enjoyed reading it. And actually, I talked to Rachel last week, and she told me she met you. ☺ This is the first ACFW conference I’ve missed in 3 years, so I’m sorry I missed you and everyone else. We could’ve had great conversation at that breakfast table. 😉 Hopefully we’ll cross paths one day, but meanwhile, I’m glad to connect through the online world. Blessings on your writing journey!

    • Kim, Thanks for stopping by. I’m sure we would have had great breakfast conversations at the conference, and look forward to social media conversation.I’ll check out your website, as well. May your writing ministry bless believers and nonbelievers alike.

  4. Hey Angela! GREAT blog. It was great to meet you and I loved your openness and honesty about how you felt. I know conference is a hard place for anyone to fit in at times but especially when “no one looks like me.” But praise Jesus we ultimately look alike!

    Much love!

  5. I just checked my stack of cards and found your’s among them. I hope I didn’t come across as stand-offish. If I did it was only because this was my first ACFW conference also. It was quite intimidating for all of us newbies.

    • Wade, not at all. We meet for three-minutes on the first day in the newbie room. Actually, your comment tickled me. Let me refresh your memory. “If this writing stuff doesn’t work out in three years, I’m becoming a truck driver,” I said.
      “Anyone can drive a truck,” the lady wearing the large hat said.”You get lessons.”
      “Lessons doesn’t make you a good driver,” Wade-the-truck-driver-turned-writer said.
      “That’s makes sense, you should see my car.” I said. “Maybe I will stick to writing.”
      Then we disbursed.

  6. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

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