This week, as we approach Fathers Day, Written Voices Blog will feature several of the contributors to the recently released anthology, The Soul of a Man.
K.L., describe yourself for our visitors.
I have been a teacher for the NYC Dept of Education for over 10 years. I published my first book titled “A Man in Transition” in June of 2008 through the publishing company I created called Bravin Publishing. I have four children and possibly more. Yes I said possibly more. I wasn’t always the man I am now. I was a man that lived his life attempting to bed down as many women as I could. Before I knew the Lord I was trapped into believing life was connected to getting next to every woman in a sexual manner. I would like to believe I am as complicated as many others feel about themselves, but I am not.
I am simply a man who is trying to positively grow in the areas that make a difference. I am a man who has taken his past and used it as fuel for my current state of being. I am a writer, poet, husband, father, educator and Christian. There are times I suffer from mini bouts of depression when I stare at the mountains in my life while questioning how I’m going to make it over them. My spiritual beliefs keep those negative feelings from lasting more than a few hours at most. The Lord has helped me find myself and in growing in my knowledge of Him, I am finding better ways to make sense of this world and my role in it.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I pray often and everywhere. I attend bible study once a week. I also make habit daily to find time to place my thoughts on God. I have private conversations with the Lord at different times through-out the day. Co-workers and I get in time to discussions about the bible and the role Jesus Christ plays in the day to day grind. When I am driving I listen to the religious stations along with everything else. I am a big fan of talk radio. Sometimes, I’ll get a good word from something I listened to which will speak on something I am dealing with. All of this helps get closer to the Lord. I have yet to find a church home I feel comfortable with. I have been sort of church shopping. I am waiting to find one which moves my spirit to stay and join.
Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?
I have so many. I am a Bible verse and quote junkie. However here are few which stand out to me.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (New International Version) 33 do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." This verse is my way of remembering there are times I have to be apart from those I know are into things that can lead me to poor behaviors or worse. I use this verse to teach my students to be careful who they occupy their time with. When you think about it: when you see your friends doing anything that is wrong and you choose to go on, a part of you is saying what you saw is OK. That subtle acceptance is slowly changing who you are. Left unchecked it could cause you to become like your friends.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (New International Version)
13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. This verse here my grandmother passed on to me a few years back. She pinned it on my desk as a means to remember I can make it through any situation. Now since going to bible study I truly understand the verse deeper. Jesus went through everything imaginable so when we are troubled there isn’t one thing that we can say, the Lord doesn’t understand. Once someone understands your situation your trust increases. So is the case with God. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and understand he died for your sins, then how can anything your dealing take your thoughts off the fact God already understands where you are and what your feeling. The verse reminds us there will be a way out no matter what the cause. The issue I find today is many want their own way and not the way Lord scripts it. I try to allow the Lord to guide my steps. I am not always as successful as I would like but that is the human side to this reality we live.
Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson Finally, this is one of my favorite pieces. Many believe it was Mandela who wrote and some even think it was Samuel Jackson as Coach Carter from the film. However it was Marianne Williamson and it is a breathtaking piece. The piece speaks to the greatness inside everyone and the power many of us are scared to use for it might actually pay off for ourselves and others. I have been there and to this day still fight with certain issues where I have to remind myself there is greatness in me placed here by God himself for a purpose I was created for…
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Alex Haley, Malcolm X, Stan Lee, Juwanza Conjufu, Maya Angelo, John Hope Franklin and Langston Hughes are at the top of my reading list. There are so many books I read here and there. I don’t have a clear cut favorite, but if I had to pick one or two it would be "The Bible and Autobiography of Malcolm X" Both changed my life. I wear an X around my neck as a tribute to what Malcolm’s book meant to my life and my tribute to Jesus is simply dedicating my life itself to the faith.
Reading for fun is something I am learning to do more of. I read to learn so I can apply what I have learned to actually practice. However I am growing affection for fiction and other genres.
What influenced you to contribute to The Soul of a Man?
When I saw the listing for potential writers, I said to myself I am going to take a chance as relatively unknown writer. I thought I had a good idea and so I decided to take a chance to be picked up. Even though I had no professional credits to my name at the time I felt it was worth the chance. In my eyes it was truly hit or miss for me. After sending it to Elissa Gabrielle and she contacted me saying my story needed some work but I had been accepted to the line up. I was ecstatic. I truly felt the Lord was working on me to send in my story. It was originally a pornographic erotic story that I decided to change and offer as my offering to the anthology and low and behold it was accepted. I get excited every time I see the cover and see my name along side all the other talented men involved. I have such great feelings about this manuscript.
Tell us about your contribution to the anthology, The Soul of a Man.
My story is called “The Choice” it’s about a married couple and the husband has to make a choice after encountering an angel who says he is coming to take his stepdaughters away. The a
ngel says to avoid them being taken the husband can choose anyone on the planet to forfeit their life in place of his stepchildren. His choice, the reasoning behind his choice and the request made after making his choice I feel will touch all who read. I tried to place my heart into the story. It’s also dedicated to my father who I patterned the characters after watching how he and my stepmother interact with each other.
What do you hope readers will retain from reading The Soul of a Man?
Wow! I truly hope they take a step back and see what they are holding in their hands. 14 brothers offering their connection with God for the world to see what “triumph” can look like through the eyes of black men. We all come from different places even though many of us write in the same genres, yet we are all different and this book is going to connect folks with how men can look at the God they serve. That is a power which can not be over looked or breezed through.
If each reader takes the time I believe like the Bible itself they will find someone or themselves in the pages of this book. I know that is bold statement. However when I walk into a classroom everyday and see the absence of God in school and in homes, while young men of color are running around unchecked or challenged in a spiritual way, I feel this book can offer something that is missing; true hope for the future of these young men. This book also offers the women something powerful. Think about too often in our communities we here where are all the “Good Men” well ladies here are 14 men who are showing that good men still exist and they do understand and love the Lord. This book is need in today’s times.
What’s next for you?
I am scheduled to be a part of another Christian anthology called Bended Knee due out in November. I am going to continue to promote my poetry book. However I believe that I am going to take a step back from writing and return to taking classes on becoming a better writer. I feel I am weak in the areas of professional writing and I need to truly dive into become a writer who’s work can be respected by all who read. I plan on attending the Black Writers Conference and Reunion in Las Vegas in June.
My second book I have started working on is called “From Gigolo to Jesus: My Life As a Sexual Predator" is due to be published in 2010. The book is about my life as an out of control fatherless young man who lived his life through sexual exploits only to find the Lord, save my relationship after infidelity, reconnect all my children and take each day as an educator serious enough to place my whole life under the scrutiny of today’s society. People who know the man that I have become will be surprised by what they read, but I feel it needs to be told to possibly save some young men from going the route I took to find salvation and peace.
Where can visitors find you online?
I can be found at my website: www.KLthewriter.com
(Where my wedding video and poetry can be seen and heard.)
Facebook screen name: KL Keith Belvin
My Blog: http://klbelvin.blogspot.com
To find out more or purchase The Soul of a Man, visit