EXPRESSIONISM with Haikeem Stokes

I don't remember the first story I wrote; I know that I was seven-years-old and I think it may have involved dragons. I do, however, remember writing my first story that mattered. It was about a flower withering in fall. I was a seventeen-years-old and a victim of domestic violence. Effectively cut off from my friends and family, I had no one to talk to, and no outlet for all the pain I was going through. I remember sitting in the center of the living room floor with my notebook after a brutal fight with my abuser. The flower represented my spirit and the fear that my life would end in despair and solitude.  The story was graceful, and poetic, and deeply personal.
I gave all of my hopes and dreams to that flower. It was about two or three pages, not a very long story, but a truly meaningful one. It was the first time that I transferred my pain to the page. It was my first piece of art. That short story opened my eyes to a world full of emotional angst and beauty.

It changed me. 
I was drawn to expressionism in all of its forms so you can imagine my delight when I found out that my cousin, and fellow author, Haikeem Stokes, not only studied art but actively practiced Expressionism. I invited him on the blog to talk about his love of art and how he incorporates it into his work. 

Peace and Blessings
I am Author, Poet, Artist, Haikeem Stokes from South Philadelphia.
I'm a huge fan of the arts in all aspects. Literary Arts stood out to me because it seemed so limitless. Our imaginations are wondrous. Painting was introduced to me as early as grade school. Fortunately, the elementary school I attended encouraged their pupils to explore the arts as well as the required subjects. 

Throughout Junior High School and High School, I would spend many Saturday afternoons in the main branch of the Philadelphia Library on the Parkway studying Modernism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Surrealism and my favorite, Abstract. I love the freestyle freedom of painting. An artist can literally paint a black spot on a white canvas then have ten people give their opinion of what it is and there may be ten different definitions of the interpretation. That is powerful. Writing is truly my passion, but art is life.

Speaking of which, "I Need You Too" is my official introduction as an Author. It was my baby and I treated it as such in regard to bringing it into fruition. It laid inside my soul until it was time to be birthed. The novel is inspired by young love. It is the story of a young man who realizes the virtues of monogamy. Most of us in our late teens and throughout our twenties are not certain who our soulmate is. The chosen are only a chosen few that comply with the universe. For those fools who traipse about like bees buzzing 
flower to flower certainly do learn hard lessons.

The project I offered was "The Purple Orchard Syndrome" whereas I interviewed twelve men between the ages of twenty-one and seventy-one on their experience of growing up in a household without a father. Very candid answers to several provocative questions. Each individual seemed to be lifting tons of stress and anguish from their shoulders. Some even said how much of a relief it was to finally be rid of many harbored feelings and emotions. I believe that it is material that proves that even through tribulation one can triumph. I too closely identify with each of them as I'm a product of a single parent household. However, my mother was an extremely strong individual that wouldn't allow me to fail because of my extenuating circumstance.

Writing my first novel, "I Need You Too" I outlined and listened extensively. I had many pages of each character’s attributes. I wanted them to leap off the page and come alive inside of your mind. I love when readers tell me who they love as well as hate and how vivid the settings are. Sometimes readers even confess which character they're most like. I adore spirited conversations about life. My first project, "The Purple Orchard Syndrome" was mostly personal. Whereas I was inspired to write it because I felt as though my story wasn't unique and I that it would be therapy for a lot of people going through the same issues. Asophila Books is an independent publishing company. I initially shopped my material around and fielded many offers,  except they didn't feel right for me at the time. Not that I had unrealistic ambitions about my work, but I thought that I could do the same or better than they were offering. No one is going to do you better than yourself. If you truly believe in yourself then you must prove it.

In the first quarter of 2019, I will be releasing my fourth book of poetry and second project. The poems deal deeply with what love is and it's undeniable power. And the project explores the relationship some women have with their fathers in regard to the men they choose to be with. I'm excited about both works and am anxious to release them into the universe.

Thank you immensely for this opportunity and platform. Much continued success and I pray that everyone who reads this realizes their positivity and reaches beyond their potential.



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