Local Author Visits Free Minds Book Club

On Friday, February 27, 2009, guest author DaWayne Williams came to speak to the incarcerated youth of the Free Minds Book Club. The author of Reputations Fade Away, a true chronicle of his young adulthood on the streets of South East DC, Mr. Williams delivered an impassioned address to the young men. As he described his progression from violent drug dealer to accomplished author, Mr. Williams continually returned to one point: the power of your dreams.

DaWayne Williams“Your dream does not start the day you get out of here,” he declared to 14 young teens in orange jumpsuits. “Your dream starts the day you decide to believe in it.” Mr. Williams told the story of his life, from a difficult early childhood, to first shooting a gun at age 13, to the day he saw the movie Antwone Fisher and was inspired to write his own life story. “I learned how to write by writing this book,” he told the group. “Nobody helped me.”

L.W., 17, said that Reputations Fade Away was the first book he had ever read from front to back. “It was very cool,” he said, to meet the author face-to-face.

Book Club members asked Mr. Williams questions about the craft of writing. He stressed the importance of details such as powerful character names, as well as the benefits of consistent journaling.

He encouraged the youth of the Book Club to follow their creative dreams by getting a mentor, “hanging around people that do what you wanna do,” and not letting anyone tell you that you can’t achieve. “You also have to read and write,” he continued. “For you to be a writer you have to read books. You have to know your feelings, and you have to take it and write it in your own words.”

“Writing is good for your mind, “ he concluded, “and remember to protect your dream.”

At the end of the session, Book Club members wrote down their own personal goals and then took the opportunity to share them and speak individually with Mr. Williams.

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