What is the motivation behind “A Journey of Life on Purpose”?
I wrote this book because I know that many women like myself- intellectually curious and multi-dimensional in their gifts, with a strong commitment to family and community – struggle with finding meaning beyond their roles. This book helps readers, especially women, to reassign and reclaim value in the intentionality of their actions and words in their relationships and communities through candid conversations in prose and poetry. It delves into the primacy of the creative space, insists on the transparency required for real-ationships with others, including ourselves, and communicates a quiet urgency for more empathy as well as a deliberate understanding of what lies beneath race and identity; that is, the very soul and spirit of a being.
Separately, I struggled with my own displacement and belonging as a Black woman citizen of two countries – United States of America, by naturalization, and Commonwealth of Dominica, by birth – while honoring all of who I am. Illuminating themes of self-actualization, or becoming, in the context of our relationships with the women in our lives – friends, mothers, and even children- through candid conversations presents a powerful platform for cutting through some of the morass of identification that comes from identifying solely along racial lines. This too, is an important narrative that I wanted to highlight in print.
I want you to think of your favorite chapter/section, how would that part of the book describe you as a writer?
My favorite part of this book is the section titled “My Sister, My Self”. This section lends power to yet another narrative about the women’s collective. The tapestry of our love and the fabric of us as womenfolk is already layered individually, but collectively, we are formidable. We are often the gatekeepers of our homes, whether we acknowledge it or not. We have the ability to sway opinions, change minds, and appeal to the empathy of others, even our adversaries. Culling that power among us is critical if we are to move forward even on a personal level, let alone on a much broader level, but first it requires transparency with ourselves and each other. It is in this process that we’ll find our own strength. In our sisters, we can find ourselves.
What do you want readers to get from “A Journey of Life on Purpose”?
From this book, I want readers to understand that in their intentionality, in their setting out, they have the power to be transformative in even the smallest of ways, in the lives of others, and achieve the outcomes they claim to value- justice, equity, fairness, empathy…fulfillment.
Ten years from now, how do you want your body of work to be described in the literary world?
I hope that ten years from now, this book would be described as a book that made readers feel something that made them care more, enough to do something differently. A Journey Of Life On Purpose: Creativity, Love, Womanhood, Community, Race, and Identity is a book that transcends time and events; it is a book that will always speak to the potential of the human spirit when we are intentional in both our being and creating.
Avril Somerville is a first-generation college graduate of Swarthmore College and obtained her Master of Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University. She was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Her family migrated to Brooklyn, New York when she was just ten years old. She attended the public schools of Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and Harlem in New York City and now lives with her family outside the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Her first book, A Journey Of Life On Purpose: Creativity, Love, Womanhood, Community, Race, and Identity is now available now on Amazon. To learn more about Avril, visit her at www.somerempress.com