Primarily, I’d like to thank The Story Reading Ape for this opportunity. I’ve never known an Ape who could read before so this is exciting.
My name is Yecheilyah, pronounced e-see-lee-yah but everyone calls me EC for short. I grew up on Chicago’s south side in the Robert Taylor Projects and everywhere else in-between. As a family who struggled and moved around a lot I’ve seen everything from crack addicts, drug dealers, and homeless shelters all before age ten.
I’ve always been in love with writing and I was reading before Kindle made it cool. I decided to make up stories of my own at 12 years old which is also when I got into poetry. I fell in love with poetry! But so as not to make writing jealous, I split my time between writing short stories and poetry.
I suppose what nurtured my love for writing is keeping journals and diaries (that and reading). They helped me to write what I was truly feeling and to be real with myself. Since no one was reading my diary anyway, it helped me to be open. This openness flowed from my heart to the pen and my first writing was…how can I put this? RAW. I was an angry child having lived a life I wouldn’t wish for anyone and my Dad’s passing from cancer didn’t help. I wouldn’t even call it writing back then, just an explosion of words all stabbed into the page.
By the time I got to the eighth grade and to High School I started to learn more about writing and began to open up a little bit and share my work with others. I started by joining a summer work program with other teens. Our job was to write plays and perform them before the school assembly. This gave a bit of structure to my writing.
I also joined UMOJA Spoken Word Poetry, and Drama. For the first time I was speaking my writing out loud.
To my surprise, everyone enjoyed hearing my voice and became interested in my writing in general. I went on to perform many of my poems and to study writing in a much more organized kind of way. I took up Advanced Placement Literature, took classes at Robert Morris College my junior year, and also joined the schools yearbook team.
After High School I attended Chicago State University and studied Professional and Technical Writing before attending Everest College where I changed routes and took up Medical Assistance. I worked in Phlebotomy at Trinity Advocate Hospital on Chicago’s south side a very short while.
Needless to say while I enjoyed taking people’s blood, the medical field is not my passion.
I met my husband in 2007 and in 2009 we moved from Chicago to Shreveport LA where I took the opportunity to revisit writing. I performed at such places as The Naked Bean Cafe, and Words Over Lattes and in 2010 Self-Published my first book, a collection of poetry and the rest? History.