Name: Terry Angel Mason
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Current Residence: I reside both in San Diego and Los Angeles
Current or most recent project:
Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent is a collection of writings, short stories, and poems, exploring the experiences and trials of parenthood from an African-American gay male perspective and sensitively chronicles Mason’s search for love and self-hood. These masterfully creative writings express candidly the views of countless gay African-Americans who are vibrant with the faith and energy of America’s Black Church yet bristling with the pain and anger of America’s racial and homophobic injustice. While many still speculate over whether Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would have supported gay rights, Mason boldly points out that it is absolutely inconceivable that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would endorse anything that smacks of discrimination and bigotry against any group since it is opposed to everything he believed in as a humanitarian and Civil Rights leader. Mason is an extraordinary poet who eloquently expands and redefines the traditional idea of the love poem in creative and ingenious ways. Each poem, story, and article is suffused with restoration, history, love, and ferocious courage! He also gives us an honest glimpse into the life of a young “Angel Mason” who experienced the pangs of growing up in a not-so-tolerant world as an African-American gay teen. America has barely smoothed its feathers, ruffled badly last year by the California Supreme Court’s initial decision to lift the ban on gay marriage, followed by a divisive election that reversed the decision and placed the matter again before the California Supreme Court for repeal. These chilling events led to an epiphany that compelled him to write Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent. These electrifying writings are destined to make him one of the foremost voices of the African-American gay experience. We have no doubt that the artistry and enduring vision that Mason demonstrates in this inspiring book will cause a revolutionary awakening in America and continue to influence our culture, reshape our thinking, and touch our hearts and lives for decades.
The challenges I encountered included finding a publisher, coming up with the income to produce the book, getting the book registered with the proper companies (Baker and Taylor and Ingram) so that national and international distributors would pick it up and sell it — and getting it into local book stores.
Earliest memory of being a writer:
I actually began writing when I was about eight years of age. I couldn’t express my feelings to my family or friends about the growing awareness in me that I was a same-gender loving person and so I would write songs about my feelings and experiences. I still continue to do so even to this day and will be releasing a Christmas CD in December 2010 that contains both Christmas songs and love songs that I have composed.
When were you first published? And under what circumstances?
I was actually first published when I was 13 years of age. The Los Angeles Unified School District decided to publish a book containing poems, stories, and essays written by Junior High School students who were gifted writers. Many of my poems were selected and featured in that book.
How do you identify and nurture ideas for new projects?
I have come to realize that we live in our minds and it is there that we become rich or poor, a beggar or a thief. We possess the pearl of great price when we know the power of our own thoughts to create what we want in life. The riches and the powers within us can never be depleted. As a writer I have discovered that the riches of our minds know no limitations but those we impose upon ourselves. I quiet my mind, relax and let go, knowing that the theme, characters and ideas will be given to me. I think about the idea, enjoy it, then in the silence of the night, before going to sleep I affirm to my subconscious mind: “Give me a good thrilling novel (if that is what I am writing – as I am now) one that will be marketable, profitable and a blessing to all of humanity.” In the morning when I wake up, I have the whole novel, and I sit down and write it.
Which authors/writers/performers/other individuals that have influenced your artistic style?
E. Lynn Harris (listen to my inspiring podcast tribute to E. Lynn Harris by clicking on to the link: Terry Angel’s Podcast on E. Lynn Harris to discover why E. Lynn Harris inspires me. Essex Hemphill (was bold, assertive and a personal friend of mine whose inspiring literary compositions continue to motivate and inspire me), Langston Hughes and Kahlil Gibran.
What 2 books and/or 2 CDs would you recommend?
Kahlil Gibran’s — The Prophet, (I agree with Claude Bragdon who said of this inspiring author, “His power (speaking of Kahlil Gibran) came from some great reservoir of spiritual life else it could not have been so universal and so potent, but the majesty and beauty of the language with which he clothed it were all his own.”
Langston Hughes — Let America Be America Again: And Other Poems – Within the pages of this masterpiece we find thought provoking passages and moving poems that contain statements like “Equality is in the air we breathe.” Hughes makes the reader question the idea of opportunity for all because as Hughes states, “there has never been equality for me.” As an African-American Gay male, I have often felt the same way because America continues to deny countless gay Americans equal rights.
The Bible — The Bible is perhaps the greatest book ever written and continues to be a great source of strength, wisdom and direction for my life!
I recommend these books because of the wisdom, inspiration and thought-provoking ingenious ideas they contain. Also because they contain provoke change and personal growth in the reader.
Do you believe LGBT authors have an obligation to the LGBT community?
I believe that we have an obligation to the LGBTQ community to act as mentors so that we can assist our younger brothers and sisters in overcoming the numerous negative stereotypes perpetuated by our society. It has been proven that positive role models can assist young women and men in the development of improved self-esteem and positive self-worth. This kind of role modeling is critical to the healthy development of young people who struggle to accept their sexual or gender orientation in the face of strong family and societal disapproval. Additionally, I believe we have an obligation to share our liberating thoughts, ideas, experiences, wisdom and knowledge in truth so others will be encouraged and motivated to live in truth. As an internationally recognized author, I continuously stress to my readers and those who attend my book signings the importance of self acceptance and self-love. For unless we as same-gender loving people begin to accept who we are and that God loves us as we are, we can never be truly happy in life, be successful in our quest to find true love, reach our full potential or fulfill our divine destiny.
What is the biggest misconception about you and/or your work?
That it is just for the gay community. But perhaps the greatest misconception about my book is that the content is not beneficial to the Black Gay Community because of the artwork on the cover of the book. Many African-Americans don’t understand why there are images of two white lovers super- imposed over a Black Image. We did this so that the book would have international appeal and reach beyond the boundaries of the African-American community. The messages and life lessons contained within the pages of this inspiring book were written for all genders, races, creeds, ethnicities and ages. This proved to be the correct path to pursue (though at times it broke my heart when the African-American community lashed out at me because of it) since now the book is sold on every continent and distributed by countless national and international distributors who have sold thousands of copies to a vast and diverse audience of readers world-wide.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
- Put God first in all things and let Him be the C.E.O. of your company
- Believe in yourself and in your written composition even though at times others may not!
- Don’t allow yourself to succumb to limited thinking. Think out of the box and move beyond the walls of limitation.
- Find positive statements that express your goals and dreams and say them out loud daily (in the form of positive affirmations) to dispel fear of failure, doubt and worry. (e.g. “My success is big! It is irresistible and it appears now! I bless my book, Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent with immediate selling power! There is gold dust in the air, everything I touch turns to gold! I have wisdom, sound counsel, enduring wealth and prosperity; and a breath of understanding as measureless as the sands on the seashore! I am a spiritual genius! All that I need to know is now revealed to me, through me, and from within me!)
- Know that if God said He will bless you, that He will!
- Be persistent and willing to work hard for persistence alone is omnipotent!
- Communicate with your distributors and don’t leave it all up to them to advertise or promote your project.
- Take advantage of every opportunity to promote your book and realize that telling one person about your book is as important as telling a thousand.
- Utilize the numerous free resources that are available on the internet to promote your book both within the LGBTQ community and without.
- Create a Mastermind group (Purchase a copy of Think and Grow Rich, a Black Choice by Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill to find out how to do this!) Always know that no matter how successful you become you will always need the help, resources, and wise counsel of others so treat others with respect, love and integrity.
Can you share some thoughts on your upcoming project(s)?
My New Book: THE DREAM KEEPER was inspired by two chapters that are currently included in my current book, Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent: “The Valley of Unfulfilled Dreams” and “Smokey and The Dream Keeper”.
Hundreds of my readers have emailed me asking me to do sequels to these specific chapters. I am extremely excited about this project because it allows me to use my creative imagination in ways that teach liberating life lessons in a manner that entertains, while inspiring the reader to make the kinds of changes that will truly prosper and benefit them as well as those whom they love.