S1E7: Reimagine Your Story feat. Ashley Harris

Episode seven features poet and spoken word artist Ashley Harris, who recently published the chapbook If the Hero of Time Was Black, based on the Zelda video game series. Ashley is a Virginia native, and a CUPSI and Brave New Voices alum based in Durham, NC.

Ashley Harris is a longtime spoken word artist and poet. Her powerful performances have led her to feature and perform her original poems across the country, most recently during her book tour in support of If The Hero of Time Was Black. Ashley meshes her love for poetry, Black culture and science into a collection that is truly unique and thought-provoking.

During our conversation, Ashley discusses the origins of her Zelda appreciation, how she leaned on the support of her mentors to make this book a reality and how she fights against complacency for evolve as an artist.  

To purchase If the Hero of Time Was Black visit: https://www.weaselpress.com/product-page/if-the-hero-of-time-was-black

Follow Ashley on Twitter: https://twitter.com/alchemistnegra

Follow Ashley on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashleyalanpoe/

As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.

Listen to Episode 7 and read the full time-stamped transcript below or tune in on the following podcast platforms:

Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Google Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Podbean, PlayerFM and Blubrry.

Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!

Ashley Harris

Ashley Harris

Reimagine Your Story

Sometimes our dreams seem infinitely distant from our reality. Ashley Harris is proof that you can realize your talent and potential with a bit of determination, patience and ingenuity.  

Full Transcript

Narrator :                                00:02                       Welcome to Meraki Mentors, a podcast we train women who create. We interview creatives from every field and around the globe to discuss art risk taking and what it means to live a creative life. Here's your host, Candace Howze,

Candace:                                  00:20                       Ashley Harris, writer, performer, poet, future doctor. These are just a few descriptions of my friend Ashley, but they only give you a small part of her story. She recently began a book tour in support of her recently published chapbook. If The Hero of Time Was Black and will read at the University of Virginia this month, the Cupsi alum and accomplished poet shares the tremendous story behind her chapbook, which was written in conversation with the Zelda video game series, the benefit of having a close relationship with your mentors and why it's never too late to evolve. Let's have a listen.

Candace:                                  00:58                       Hello everyone. Welcome back to Meraki Mentors. This is Candace Howze, your host and we have an amazing talented, my incredible, incredible friend and poet, Ashley Harris with us today. She's going to talk to us a little bit about being a poet and performing and most importantly, her upcoming chapbook. Based on the Zelda video game series, so if there's any gamers out there, I know you all are going to be really excited and interested in this. So first and foremost, just thank you so much, Ashley, for being with us today.

Ashley:                                      01:36                       Thank you.

Candace:                                  01:38                       I'll let you start off by. I'm just telling the audience what you currently do, like where you're from, what you do, and how you first got started writing poetry.

Ashley:                                      01:49                       Sure. So I'm from Keysville, Virginia. Well, I was born in Farmville, Virginia, but I feel that it's complicated. I feel like, you know, I lived in Keysville, Virginia, um, me and my mom moved to Manassas, Virginia and I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Chemistry and Hispanic culture and literature with a Minor in creative writing because I, um, I liked writing, um, I and I want to be a doctor. That's still a thing. It's just I really learned that everyone is on their own timeline. Um, and so that's why I was a major in Chemistry and I currently do research at Duke. I do a variety of research projects. And of course I have my first book coming out, it is a chapbook, but as my very first published chapbook, you know, in the past I printed out my chapbooks, but now through Weasel Press, um, how from Weasel Patterson and Ambrose who looked at my manuscript and they accepted it. I will now have my book out which is called If The Hero of Time Was Black. And it's, it's amazing because it's just, it was a concept I never thought I, not to sound self doubting, but, you know, it's, it's really a concept like about a video game. But then also trying to intersect, um, the black experience, blackness, my own experience into the franchise, which was very, very difficult.

Candace:                                  03:40                       So I went to Undergrad with Ashley and we had like a bunch of poetry classes together and we were both involved in the spoken word community. I was always too scared to slam, but actually is a great spoken word artist. Um, so yeah, so if it seems like we've, we've got a little history. We definitely do. Um, she's one of my favorite poets and I've always admired just how much you like pursued, spoken word and just how involved you are with the community. I think that's interesting. It's fantastic.

Ashley:                                      04:10                       Yeah, it's interesting.

Ashley:                                      04:13                       Sure. Yeah. I forgot to mention that.

Ashley:                                      04:16                       I started out with Brave New Voices and I represented the Chapel Hill team. Um, the Sacrificial Poets. And then I did Cupsi which is the college union slam for two years. I was um, that was like 2014, 2015. I remember it was in Colorado and then Richmond, Virginia.

Ashley:                                      04:40                       But yeah, slamming is um

Ashley:                                      04:43                       hm.

Candace:                                  04:43                       It's a, it's a whole, it's a whole different world.

Ashley:                                      04:47                       It is all different world! You got people's egos. People are not even doing poems. They're just, they know it's what the crowd likes. Really strange white, Gray area that happens. Sometimes

Candace:                                  05:03                       I fell like it's a difference. The blur between art and then the blur between performing for a crowd because obviously like that's what you're doing,

Ashley:                                      05:10                       Rright?

Candace:                                  05:12                       I went to the um, one of the Bull City Slams swag. Gosh, what was it? I want to say like last October or something. And I was one of the judges and that was so nerve wracking.

Ashley:                                      05:21                       Oh my god. Did they?

Candace:                                  05:26                       They didn't. I was just like, "don't boo me, don't boo me."

Ashley:                                      05:31                       Yeahh

Candace:                                  05:31                       And Durham has a incredible spoken word community, like if you're ever in Durham at any point in your life. Um, we've got like monthly slams. It's just, there's so many really talented, just dope poets that are around this area.

Ashley:                                      05:45                       Yeah, absolutely. And of course granddad, Dasan, he has his hand on everything I feel, um, when it comes to spoken word in the triangle. So, you know, the Durham-Chapel Hill, um, this other Raleigh area. Yep.

Candace:                                  06:03                       So tell us a little bit, I guess we should start off. Okay. So first we should start off with your love affair with the Zelda game. Let's just get started with that.

Ashley:                                      06:13                       Oh God. I was afraid you were going to say someone's name. I was like "What? Who told you?" hahahaha

Candace:                                  06:14                       You guys don't you just love Ashley?

Ashley:                                      06:29                       .Yeah. ohh my god. False alarm.

Candace:                                  06:29                       Haha False alarm

Ashley:                                      06:34                       Psych, psych on all that. Um, but Zelda. I felt like I started playing Zelda the first time I started playing was when I used to stay on my little cousin's house. Her Dad got her a Nintendo 64 and I didn't have any games systems because my mom was like, I ain't buying that. But, um, when we played Ocarina of Time I was like, I really am good at this game, um, because I don't know, I feel like I have some skill, like I knew what to do, I knew how to follow the instructions and I love to read the dialogue, but my little cousin didn't really like it. Um, she didn't like the spiders and the deku tree and I was like, I would like to get past the deku the tree because that's the very first level. So I was like, "Mom, please. Please get me the game." My mom just got me any game. It was not the Nintendo 64. It was actually the Gamecube.

Candace:                                  07:32                       Oh my gosh, I forgot about those

Ashley:                                      07:36                       Yes! And on the Gamecube. It came with, um, it was this some kind of sale or something. It came with the collector's edition. The Collector's Edition. It had Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and a demo of The Windwaker. And then I think it has Zelda 1 and Zelda 2 on it. And I loved all of them. I can play it forever, like 100 times and never get sick of it.

Candace:                                  08:01                       For anyone who's not familiar with Zelda what is like the main premise of the game?

Ashley:                                      08:09                       So it's funny because you might, why would you like a game like Zelda because you know its such a generic storyline. Its kind of a, maybe a misogynist storyline because essentially what you're doing is you're this boy, um, and you save the princess every single time. I will say is pretty much the same except for like Majora's Mask. But what I really, really love about the game is I love, I just love swords. I love sword fighting and that's, that's a big thing. I like exploration. I like um, I liked the fields that you can run around in the field, especially because sometimes as a child I didn't always get to go outside. Um, so I would just, I would love to be Link and Just be running around outside even though it wasn't really outside. I feel like that's probably why I ended up running in high school because I always watched Link run and he never got tired and I was like, "I can run like that too."

Ashley:                                      09:11                       The reason I named my book, If The Hero of Time Was Black is because if you look at the Zelda timeline Ocarina of Time is the origin point of all the timeline. So whatever happens to the hero of time affects every timeline. There's a timeline if the hero of time dies. There's a timeline if the hero of time wins. There's a timeline if the hero of time goes back to the child era because in Ocarina of time you go between being a child and an adult.

Candace:                                  09:42                       I just love that when you look at the whole timeline, like you said, of how everything is affected by the hero of time. Thinking about what that kind of symbolism is for your book and how and the just the idea that a person or an event or anything could really affect everything that we see today or the way everything is positioned like it's like a scary thought, but it's also an interesting thought too.

Ashley:                                      10:09                       Yeah, and that's Kinda what I thought of too. Like I was like, if the hero of time was black, I was thinking like, oh, what, what that would look like. And I thought about my own life, like, well all my heroes are dead too and this sounds. So sad. Not all of them, but that's kind of what started it off. Like I was when we started playing the Windwaker it goes through is really, really nice introduction. There's nice music. It's like orchestrated and it's like kind of tells you the story of everything. And it made me think of will, um, if you put my story up there, what would it look like? [inaudible]. I didn't want to just write from one point of the timeline, but just like all points of the timeline.

Candace:                                  10:58                       What was kind of like your process, like obviously, like you said, like you have inspirations and you just start writing, but when you were going back over kind of working on poems, was there anything specific where you were trying to kind of make intentional references or put things in a certain order? Or did he just kind of let it flow?

Ashley:                                      11:16                       So that's a good question. Um, well I don't remember. I just pitched the idea to Cam one day. I was like, "I should just write a whole thing about the Legend of Zelda." He was like, "you should do it." And I was like, "well, that was a joke." And he's like, "No, you should really do it." And I came up with the idea that I had just, I had, I wrote this when I graduated college, I will say a year after I graduated college and things were kind of looking bleak for me. Um, so while I was waiting to get a job because I was kind of set back, with getting a job after, because I went abroad for a little bit. That really, really set me back and the whole bunch of whole bunch of crazy stuff happened to the point where I was playing this situation where I was just kinda like, like sitting in waiting and it was so painful.

Ashley:                                      12:11                       I started watching people do play throughs of all my old favorite Zelda games and I watched him go through it and I was like, man, you know, I see so many things. So I would just start writing and then of course I would read these books that my poetry professor gave me before I graduated. He just, I was in his room one day. I was like, "yeah, I'm graduating." That was sad, can do my honors thesis. And he was just like here. And he just pulled down all these books from his shelf and I was nervous. I was like, you want me to return these, you know, I'm, I'm an out of state student. He was like, "no, just take it" and just pulling out all these random books. And so I was just reading all the books that you gave. And then I think at that time I had finished my last year of the watering hole at that time.

Ashley:                                      13:00                       So I was reading whatever books I got from there because they gave us some books. Um, and so I was really reading a lot and Nikky Finney too because I just, I really, really liked her work. I like how her work can be so long and yet, you know, it's just so fulfilling. And so I combined all those things and I forced myself to write something. So at first it was no, it was not all together like "and first there's gonna be this." No, it was just like you need to attempt to do this. And I think during that journey I was in Duke tip, so I was a teaching aide for a creative writing class and I remember the kids, they found my savages video and I was like, "oh my God, no." Um, I had told them that I have been working on something and they're like, you read one of your poems and I read a home from Gannondorf's perspective after I gave them a whole little recitation lecture on, uh, the Legend of Zelda and they were all just blinking at me.

Ashley:                                      14:07                       Like "she really just gave us a whole lecture on Zelda" I was like, "Yeah, I did." After I did that, they're like, you should continue you, like these little kids are telling me to continue. And I was like, "you know what, you're right." And so during all of that, that weird time period where I had large chunks of time, um, I just, I really dedicated myself to it. I think Nikki Finney was there when I graduated from the watering hole and she said, you know, "Don't leave the table until you have something written down every day," you know. Then I wrote a whole bunch of poems down. I edited them. I remember there's one poem on the, in the book called "For all the masks formed" and it's from Majora's Mask, and that poem was, when I first wrote it, it was two pages long because I had no idea what to do.

Ashley:                                      15:00                       I want to say all this stuff like "Masks. Yeah, we're all wearing masks." And I remember I would just go back and forth between my friends. Um, I had Jay Swiss helping me. He was like, "girl, you, what is you doing with these lines?" And thought was just going back and forth. And so, um, it'll surprise you that some of the, there's a variation of links between all of the poems. Some of the poems are really short, some of them are long. Um, I know that the first poem is the Windwaker introduction because at first I wanted the Windwaker introduction to be my own phone and it was too long and I sent it to my friend Dustin, and he was like, "this is a story." And then I decided, "why don't I just do an erasure?" So I took all the texts from the introduction of the Windwaker and I just took out words out words, um, and it was very, very difficult because I was left with four lines.

Candace:                                  16:02                       Now once you, uh, once you completed the chapbook, um, what was your process from that point in terms of submitting? Like did you submit it to a lot of different presses or was it kind of just like throwing your hat out there and just, you know, seeing what way to do it?

Ashley:                                      16:24                       This is so bad. Don't follow what I did. I submitted to um, two presses and they both said no, and I was like, "oh, well I'll just try again later." And then I remember one of the people that helped me edit the book or the manuscript at the time was Em who is a part of, um, the Weasel press, she's a part of Weasel. And she was like, "I love this, I'm a send it to my editor." She, I was like "Really?!". So I got lucky in a sense that the editor was like "this is.. This is fire."

Ashley:                                      17:03                       But if I were to give anyone advice, I would apply to some more than just the two. I think when I finished the manuscript, it was passed a lot of deadlines and I talked to a lot of my friends who I think are really, really talented and they were like "I'm not ready to release a work of art. I like that yet." And I'm like, "Well, here I go!" Um, when I, when I came back home from college, I worked at a processing plant. It was corning and they made, they made glassware and chemical, type of equipment and it was like right down the street from my house, but it was terrible. So I quit. I quit and I joined Duke Tip in my mom very mad at me and everyone was very mad at me because it was only a three month program. Well, I was like, I'm going to do it. And that's when I met. Em, and

Ashley:                                      17:59                       yeah, she really was. She was the key person who got this manuscript pushed to Weasel Press.

Ashley:                                      18:07                       So I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful I took the risk even though that was scary because it's like, "girl, you don't have no money." Sometimes you got to take risks and then it's like "I'm young right now," you know, I would also say just get yourself out there and also just make connections because I just learned of maybe a few weeks ago of a lot of small presses that are publishing people's work, not just those big ones that are more likely to say no because they want something I don't know what for. So you know, just as long as you get your stuff out there,

Ashley:                                      18:42                       You know, and there's nothing wrong with starting off small and self-publishing because that's what I did when I first started.

Candace:                                  18:50                       I think you have to take those risks and start, you know, like you said, wherever you can, like I know even when I did my chapbook, I tried to start submitting and this is honest, I wouldn't suggest anyone follow this either. I basically just got a little, I don't know, I guess I got kind of fatigued with the whole process and my main thing was like when submitting to presses and always having to wait to find out if they reject it, you are not. And I just felt like I don't have time to wait so I just printed it. But I think that having patience is important. Did you see what Gabby wrote about? Um, being in the New Yorker? No.

Candace:                                  19:37                       Oh my gosh. So Ashley and I had a poetry professor who is quite honestly like my favorite person in the world. I'll call her. Gabby

Ashley:                                      19:49                       That's cow grassy. Yes. Yes. Oh yeah.

Candace:                                  19:52                       She's an awesome, amazing poet. Um, but yeah, she posted it. I have it sitting if front of me actually on July 23rd issue of the New Yorker, so she has a, um, a poem in the New Yorker and so she posted a picture of it and she said on Facebook that "this is 20 years coming" because it's been 20 years since she's been submitting to the New Yorker and anyone who's ever read her poetry, like she's already published books, everybody knows like abby is super, super talented. I saw that and just kind of like, it made me feel better about the whole process of waiting and being rejected. It's like if someone this good, like it took this long for this amazing thing to happen and it's like you just gotta keep grinding it out.

Ashley:                                      20:38                       So true. So, so true. And I feel like that's gonna be life like with Med school for me. And then I also want to, I want to be a part of Cave Canem.

Candace:                                  20:48                       Yes!

Ashley:                                      20:48                       And I know that I know how hard that is. Um, yeah. I know.

Candace:                                  20:58                       That's life goals, right there.

Ashley:                                      20:59                       Yeahhh! Like, there's a lot of poets I love and I look up to like a Gio Shakur, um, who lives in Harlem. I think her writing is so good. It's so good. "Oh my God." Um, but then like you find out, oh, she didn't get it Cave Canem. And I'm like "What are they looking for?! What do they want?" Oh my God. You know what Gabby's to tell us?

Candace:                                  21:27                       What?

Ashley:                                      21:27                       She used to tell us every, for every rejection you should apply to something else.

Candace:                                  21:33                       She did say that!

Ashley:                                      21:35                       She was like, even if this guy does not that even if he rejects you and he tells you that he don't like you, which I have had my fair share. Okay. We, I was told if I'm rejected for anything in life where in life that I need to apply that energy somewhere else.

Candace:                                  21:55                       That's true. You're right. I totally forgot it. That she said that. And it's such a positive way to direct your energy when something bad happens basically

Ashley:                                      22:06                       Yeah it is, it's perfect and it keeps you productive. Because I'm really big on energies and vibrations and, and you'll see like in my book ancestors are huge thing. And that is, that's also a huge thing I've found in Zelda, the emphasis of ancestors. I don't think a lot of people realize it or catch it, but you know, Link gets a lot of his power from the people who came before him and I always think that that's really important, but if you keep, if you keep putting out your seeds everywhere, something is going to give. Someone will say yes and it only takes one. Yes.

Candace:                                  22:51                       How. Okay. So you're booked for. How did that come about? Like did you go up to people and just saying like, "yo got a chapbook you gotta hear this." Like what happened?

Ashley:                                      23:03                       Well, I was like, I was like, "oh my God, I have to go on tour." I have to because there's, I can't sit in my apartment and be like, "all right, I hope you buy it", you know, I got to get out there I gotta get to know the community and I think this time it's interesting because now I have a published piece of work, so now I'm, I'm, I'm contacting libraries and stuff like that. But it's very scary. I, I'm, I'm glad I have a lot of mentors in poetry because I sure did go to all of them and say "I don't know what I'm doing," you know, and then, you know, being a poet, I mean, I felt like I took a little break after college from spoken from Slam, uh, just because I don't. When I was slamming in DC at ou, I got beat every day.

Ashley:                                      23:56                       Every time I was beaten every time. I was just not doing well. I was not doing well and I felt like it was because my spirit was not there. Like it was after college. Now it's kind of sad because I was like, I'm not where I want to be going out there, you know, I got to see people like Pages and stuff like that. So when it's time for me to tour, I just be like, "Pages you gotta help me!. Kamisha, you have to help me, from that area. Angie do yo know anyone? I'm just asking around for all the people that I know because they know I'm talented and they all understand that slams are subjective.

Candace:                                  24:33                       Mmhmm. They are!

Ashley:                                      24:36                       Again, it does not at all. It does not all price your value. And I'm actually so glad that when I lived back at home that I got slaughtered in those slams because it really taught me, um, that I needed to push myself. I think I stopped pushing myself to like, there is a period of time where I stopped writing. I was just using the same old same old. And it's like, that's not gonna work. You have to, you have to grow. But someone said to me like, "oh, um, are these just. This is just a book of spoken word poems" Its not. Its not a book of spoken word poems. And it also made me think like, what does that mean? Like what are, what are spoken word poems? Like you mean like performance pieces? Because I always make sure that at least some of them can exist in both the world. By making a book, they're definitely going to exist on the page. You know, people.

Candace:                                  25:34                       Yes. I understand that there is a difference in performance poetry, but sometimes people do make it seem like it's different. Or like performance is less. Like you can't appreciate it. Reading it. It's like read this on paper to perform it

Ashley:                                      25:48                       Right. and it's like some during that period when I was living at home, I noticed like some of the slams, no shade to anyone, but they were more like monologues. Like I remember I was at this Slam and Richmond and once again no shade to this lady, but this lady went up there and she was like "My husband bro, he was cheating on me 2 with women and I went home," and it was a whole story. It was not a poem it was a story. and she won. I was like,

Candace:                                  26:23                       Nooo!

Ashley:                                      26:24                       And then like some slams you'll go to them and it's like if you mentioned God, if you mentioned prayer, Jesus being saved. if you jump up and down a little bit, you'll get a 10. They were were like, "Do you write for slam?" I was like, "No, I just write. I don't do that, but I just write". And then if I look at it and it's like this could be performed, it can be performed. If it can't it can't. Is also like slam has given a lot of poets of color. The opportunity to exist in academic spaces. I think about Danez Smith. Danez is talented.I love Danez. I'm a groupie for sure, but I just hate, you know, that's sometimes Slam is just mistaken as performance.

Candace:                                  27:10                       Do you plan this still continue like writing or performing or are you going to do round and give people poems? Like what's, how is that going to intersect?

Ashley:                                      27:20                       Yo. I was just joking with this point. When I'm len losses from South Carolina, he was like, "Are you going to be a slam doctor? Are you going to be at the poetry slams? If someone starts choking or something while they do in their poem you're going right up there like No like Baywatch?

Candace:                                  27:38                       Hahaha

Ashley:                                      27:38                       I mean that would be cool you know? Um, a lot of poets tell me "Ash, you know, don't worry about slam is always going to be here, is always going to be here and poetry is always going to be here." So I think, I think when I started med school, I'll probably play it by ear. I'll see if I can handle slam. Slam it only once a month in most places on. Definitely want to still submit stuff when I'm in, in school and to just keep writing books. Like I would love to write a book about, you know, how I get to Med school and then med school and then being a doctor, like just seeing how my work grows and progresses over time. Of course I want to be a Cave Canem fellow. I know some Engineer poets. But it's like where the doctor" Where the M.D.?. I'm not talking about the PHD. I love y'all PHDs. As you know, in the past my stuff was pretty generic, but now I'm finding my own flow. I'm writing a lot more about science and of course I've heard about Zelda, but science, everything I'm learning, you know about the body, trying to make it digestible for people who don't know about that stuff.

Candace:                                  28:55                       Okay. So we have our Meraki Picks. Our fun Wrap-up game in a sense. So first of all, because we all love to eat. What is a restaurant you think everyone should go to?

Ashley:                                      29:08                       Swali's. I think that's. I think that's what they're called. I just ate there a week ago its in Durham. Oh, it's like Zimbabwe type food. They have vegetarian options, which I'm a vegetarian right now. I don't know how long I'm gonna stay a vegetarian, but that's the moves right now and I just, I, I liked their food and they put spices in their food, which is really important to me. I don't like the generic.

Candace:                                  29:39                       Okay, what is a song? And if it's, if you don't have like one song, it could be like an artist, but what's a song that's stuck in your head that you can't start listening to?

Ashley:                                      29:50                       Oh my God, if you follow me on twitter, you know that girl "Chun Li". Its that girl "Chun Li"

Ashley:                                      29:58                       We know everybody's mad at Nicki Minaj. I now, because she hasn't been making the best decisions, but I love "Chun Li". I wrote a poem that's not in the book unfortunately, but um, maybe it will be a future book is a poem that was based on a painting by the same painter who did Michelle Obama's and uh, you know, Barack Obama's paintings. It was like this woman and she cut this White Lady's head off. So I wrote a poem to that while looking at that painting and listening to. I liked the urgency. Like, she's like, "you're putting me out to be the bad guy." And I think about my existence as a black woman. It just seems like I'm always the bad guy. Like if I say some people always go black. Oh, she just jealous. She just mad. She just bitter. She's just dumb, you know. And so every time I listened to "Chun Li" I really feel that like sometimes they just really don't want you to succeed out here just because of who you are.

Candace:                                  31:04                       All right. So this is like kinda the hardest one, which is why I always save it for last, but it's a fun one. And do you have like a quote or a piece of advice or something that you live by?

Ashley:                                      31:20                       Oh my God, it's like Desus and Mero when they're like, "what do you want your rainbow to say?" Oh shoot, you know, I would say, oh gosh, that's hard. I'm glad to. I'm glad to call my girl Zora Neale Hurston, "If you're silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say that you enjoyed it." I really feel that so much. You know, and I really feel like you should listen to yourself, really listen to yourself because sometimes in life you're like, I have to be here, I have to do this, and it's so hard to reimagine yourself doing what you want to do and being the person that she want to be, Ooh, I feel like I'm going to do that right now.

Ashley:                                      32:11                       It's hard because I'm like, I'm really bad at being complacent and I'm really bad at doing the same old same old. And I'm like, of course not because I'm an. I'm a creator. I send in the office all day and when I become a doctor, I'm not going to be sitting in the office all damn and be on my feet because that's the type of person I am all my feet and I want to. I want to create and I want to. I want to just innovate. That's what I want to do. Sometimes you have to take steps towards that that are not always comfortable.

Ashley:                                      32:43                       And I don't think it matters what age you are.

Ashley:                                      32:46                       My Grandma who passed away a few months ago like you know, I know that's what she would have wanted and I think for so long and her life she, she did what everyone wanted her to do and then finally she did what she wanted to do. She like, "I ain't washing my dishes". And we were like "Granny!" And she was like, "I just don't want to do that."

Candace:                                  33:07                       You always have to evolve so you can get your story out there.

Candace:                               33:13                       Hey everyone, thanks so much for listening to this episode. Be sure to follow Ashley on instagram at Ashley Allen Poe a s h l e y a l a n p o and on twitter and alchemists Negra l c h e m I s t I n e g r a check out Ashley's website as well as links to order her book. If the hero of time was black on our website.

Narrator:                               33:40                       You've been listening to Meraki Mentors, podcasts with Candice Howze. We're honored you chose to spend your time with us today. To learn more about today's guest or the podcast. Is it Muraki mentors podcast.com.

Candace:                               33:53                       Thanks so much for listening. Remember to rate or review us on itunes. Facebook or your favorite podcast APP. Don't forget to create and connect.