Tish Interviews Tish No. 2 - by T. Benson

Tishie: How did you first come to writing? Leticia: Things got too big inside and it was the only way to get at the bigness ... I was explodin'. Always it was like that -- not a poem or a story but a thought -- maybe one thing too for my insides to carry ... kid stuff ... journal stuff ... not worth mentioning. So the writing came from a need to get at the stuff inside ... if I had more nerve it would've been a knife carved through my skin ... you know like the folks do let out some of the pain inside?

Tishie: No I don't. I don't believe in self-mutilation ... I don't believe in solving problems through any kind of violence -- in fact I don't believe in violence.

Leticia: Exactly. That's you and thank you.

Tishie: When did you consider yourself to be a poet?

Leticia: I prefer to be said I am a writer.

Tishie: Well I don't see why you don't want to be said you are a poet -- you've always wanted to be part of the in crowd and now it's very popular to be a poet.

Leticia: No that's you ... wantin' to be in the "in crowd." I don't give a fuck about the "in crowd."

Long pause as they both stare at each other

Tishie: Ok -- writer ... when did you consider yourself a writer?

Leticia: Well -- a long time ago MTV had this show -- poetry unplugged or something like that and it didn't make me feel any kind of way until I heard that one of the people on it met Prince cause he saw her on it and flew her to his castle. And I remember that day: I was sittin at this burrito joint in the east village and this friend of mine had offered me a cigarette -- that was when I smoked sometimes and that was when if you did smoke you could light up wherever you wanted to ... anyway I declined the cigarette and we were talkin about such 'n such ... still tryin to figure out my purpose ... I think the sun was out ... our food came and right when I was about to chow down ... I mean I had sliced into that bean cheese lettuce guacamole thing ... my fork had taken up the first bite -- almost to my lips and then she told me that this girl had been on MTV and Prince had called her and now they were workin together ... I put my fork down, asked her for a cigarette -- waved the waiter/waitress back over -- asked them to wrap up my food -- ordered a mountainous margarita ...

Tishie: So let me get this straight -- you declared yourself a writer because you heard a poet had met Prince based on her poem?

Leticia: Benny's Burrito -- it's in the village. At the time they made real good margaritas. At the time I really liked Prince. To hear somebody had met Prince cause she claimed her self when I was tryin' to figure out my purpose ...

Long pause as they both stare at each other

Leticia: You know for somebody that supposed to be me -- you really don't act like me or at least you don't understand like me ...

Tishie: Based on what you said earlier -- I would think that would influence you to not declare yourself a poet -- I mean writer.

Leticia: See you didn't hear me -- the fact that people were on MTV didn't sway me -- I wasn't interested in that. See that's part of the in crowd ... somebody writing something so that they could be on MTV ... that's not being an artist ... it was the fact that something somebody wrote had the power to influence Prince like that ... somebody who didn't have music behind the words ... no song ... just words ... I'm interested in power ... that's interesting to me ...

Tishie: But the in crowd is the popular crowd ...

Leticia: Well yes -- there is an in crowd that has power but there also is power that is not part of the in crowd -- quiet power ... the power in writing something personal and it ends up being the universe.

Tishie: Can we take a break -- I must take some aspirin ... or go lay down a bit ...

Leticia: Ya know my momma says the same thang ... but that's when she calls me Tishie ... she says: Ooo Tishie -- you just gave me a bad headache I gotta go lay down some ...

from Wild Like That Good Stuff Smellin Strong

Chavisa WoodsTribes