Welcome to Jovelyns world of storytelling :
Performance Artist/Teacher/Film Director/Coach/Radio
Each breath is prayer
live life as a poem that others want to memorize
remember we are meant to become human telling the best narrative of our lives.
If you lie in order to survive you risk forgetting your history and your truth . If you don’t know your truth listen, read and witness stories seemly familiar for clues that take you on a journey towards you.
Think of tomorrow as being the place you arrive with the gifts you are learning and today: be present .
My name is Jovelyn Diana, I grew up near a library it was one of the only places my mother gave me permission to travel alone lucky me! My mother is an avid reader. Mother sent me at least once a week to get her several books. My grandmother and mother firmly believed holding books were equally important as holding hands. The librarian knew my face well. What she did not know is that I took out books from the adult section pretending they were all for mother but really at least one or two books were for me. I read the adult themed books secretly in my closet. There were no princess’s on the pages waiting to be rescued or knights in armor, princes or wolves instead there was a truth I connected too. I was eight years old reading, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, and Willard Motley. I leaped into the love of literature with passion my imagination was on fire. My heart broke with the narratives of “others lives”! After those literary encounters the reading material in my school became one long boring session until… 8th grade. I was 13 years old and our teacher read out loud Emily Jane Brontes novel, Wuthering Heights. I wept openly yet silently in class tears streaming down my face. Silence, something I had to activate to avoid the commentary from my classmates.
The other place I was able to go alone was to my grandparents. My grandparents owned a grocery store in Milwaukee, Wisc it was called Patterson’s Grocery Store. They lived behind it, in an attached apartment. The community of folks that came and went under the tinkle of the bell attached to the grocery store door were as vibrant, poetic lovely ,and desperate as the characters within the books I read. They were people of all colors, shapes, sizes, and accents. The people that shopped in the store had no boundaries to their stories or how to tell them. They came in shouting, screaming, whispering, crying or solemn with hunger begging to be put on the books for a bit of food. My grandparents black owed grocery store was a safe haven for the community of blacks, Spanish speaking families and Italians and inter-generational folks in the community. They gathered into a sort of wedding bouquet in the struggle of survival and dreams. I knew I would become a storyteller in every and anyway possible. I do this as a filmmaker, comedian, literacy instructor, novelist, performance artist and musician. I enjoy engaging my audiences, and students in conversations of how and why it is essential to be present and realize the stories in our life, to examine the narrative of our collect lives. And lastly… how to be the author the voice of your life story.
Jovelyn D, Richards