Darryl A. Turner – musician, author, poet, spoken word artist & playwright

Black Facts.com

What inspired you to become an author in such a competitive industry?

At the time that I starting writing the poems that would comprise my first book, “The Soul – Shaken and Stirred”, I had no aspirations of becoming a writer. I was writing to address the low-level anxiety that had begun to build within me as result of the monumental changes that were about to take place in my life. Both of my daughters had graduated from high school in 2000 and would soon be leaving home – going in separate directions for college; I was soon to quit my job of over 20 years as an electrician to matriculate in a Master’s degree program at Northwestern University; I was preparing to rent out my home for the two years that I would be away in Evanston, IL and, overall, there was concern over whether or not I was making the right decision to make such a life-changing decision. I began writing to calm myself and to harness my creative energy. When I started writing, the poems came fairly quickly and easily. After having written the first ten or twelve poems, a “light bulb” moment occurred, during which the idea to write a book came. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why is it so important that you speak on issues about African American males?

In my opinion, African American men are the most negatively stereotyped segment of the population in this country. The narrative surrounding black men historically has been controlled by others, which has had a deep and long-lasting detrimental effect on black men themselves as a group and on all others who have been force-fed the myths. Before being able to establish their voices as individuals, it is often necessary for black men to dispel the myths that have for so long defined their identity. That is why I champion mentoring, which encourages black male children (and even black men!) to think about themselves and interact with others in positive, affirming ways. Also, it allows boys and men to engage with caring, confident, positive-minded men who can serveas role models and help them navigate the treacherous paths that so many black males in this society are forced to travel.

Tell us about both your books.

The Soul – Shaken and Stirred is a book of inspirational poetry that was written unintentionally. The author began writing the poems during a time when the opportunity to make a life-altering change in his life was presented, and major decisions needed to be made. Writing the poems enabled to author to address the low-level anxiety that he was feeling and to address some of his deepest inner thoughts. The poems deal with a range of life’s issues that affect our emotions, including fear, self-identity, love, relationships and purpose. There are also a few abstract pieces as well. As mentioned, the purpose of the author’s writings during this time was to quell the anxiety he was experiencing surrounding the possible changes in his life that were pending, and that might soon occur. The idea of a book came only after the author realized how many poems he had written, and how easily he was able to continue to write them.Although the book was written as a message to himself, the author has been told by countless others how much the book has blessed them, and those to whom books were sent to as gifts. Nothing pleases the author more than to know that his book has deeply resonated with its readers.

The Last Days of Paradise & Beyond– Book One is a detailed account of the previously untold story of the lives of Adam and Eve, with a particular focus on their states of being after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Depicted is how Adam and Eve were spiritually, emotionally and psychologically impacted as individuals and also within the context of marriage and family after being cursed by God for disobeying Him by eating the forbidden fruit. This book captures the essence of the conflict between good and evil after it entered the earthly realm and began to affect man. This work vividly describes how Adam and Eve dealt with the external challenges and internal conflicts with which they were confronted as they became increasingly exposed to the forces of evil. The author attempts to illustrate the consistency with which mankind has struggled within the self in all areas of life since choosing to disobey God—comparing and contrasting the lives of Adam and Eve with the lives of modern man. In addition to providing some possible answers to questions pertaining to how Adam and Eve may have lived, The Last Day In Paradise – Book One is sure to provoke additional questions and debate as it stirs the imagination of its readers.

Where can your books be purchased?

The Soul – Shaken and Stirred  Amazon.com

The Last Days of Paradise & Beyond (Book One)  MarketingNewAuthors.com

What is the most difficult thing you had to overcome?

The most difficult thing for me to overcome, without question, has been procrastination. I think I am very good at coming up with ideas and establishing plans. However, after achieving those steps, I often allow myself to “shelve” the work that has been done in order to entertain other ideas. Or, in another method of procrastination, I’ll produce a completed work then delay the last step of sharing or publishing it – opting to delay release or exposure while waiting for the “right time” to do so. On the down side, I’m certain that my procrastination has limited my professional trajectory and caused me to miss many opportunities in the past. From a positive perspective, my procrastination has caused to me having an abundance of works that are now ready to be shared – including a completed music cd, a completed stage play, many completed poems and a novel that has not been properly advertised. With all of that said, I am confident that my bad habit of procrastination is being successfully relegated to my past.

What does success look like for you?

Success, to me, is first a matter of personal fulfillment. It is contingent upon me believing that I have fully utilized all my skills, gifts, talents and abilities to accomplish whatever external goal that might be set before me. It is not based on tangible elements such as the number of units sold, the number of positive reviews received, or the size of the crowd that might attend an event. If I feel that I have done the very best that I am capable of doing, and have maintained a thankful and humble attitude, the aforementioned tangible measures, which often are the focus of others, will take care of themselves.Gaining visibility and a stronger, more recognizable voice are extensions of having laid the proper groundwork for success, then executing.

What advice would you give to someone who seeks to become an author?

I would ask an individual who is seeking to become an author to first ask him/herself a few questions: 1) Why have you chosen to try to become a writer? – Does it seem to be a “cool”, “lucrative” or “easy” profession? I’d share with that individual that if it’s for any of those reasons, they are disillusioned and should expect to be disappointed. 2) What type of writing do you want to engage in? – There are many types of writers. It would be wise for the potential author to know what space they desire to operate in. 3) Are you willing to educate yourself in your area of writing interest, and are you willing to work on improving your writing skills? I’d inform the potential author that learning is an on-going process, and that to make real progress and to gain notoriety, one must work to become excellent. I’d close by providing encouragement by saying that if an individual has a passion for a topic or an issue and feels as though they have something constructive to add to the base of information on that topic or issue, then write!

Where would you like to see your career in the next five years?

I definitely would like to be in position to mentor those in the up-and-coming generation – particularly black boys and men – through the use of the creative arts. Using my past experience as a therapist, I have found creative ways to connect with this particular population group in the past, and hope to be in a position to do so again. I would love to collaborate with others who share this passion, and create a synergy that translates into actual benefits and advantages that can be experienced by those who we serve. Most of all, by way of my example, I would like to be an ambassador for truth and integrity, and allow my life to serve as a witness and be a testimony of Jesus Christ to others. It is my belief that I am obligated to do whatever I can to assist those whose voices have been missing from the collective conversation, and whose presence has been misrepresented in society.

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Darryl was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. Of three children, he is the oldest child and only son. An excellent student, Darryl developed an affinity for writing during elementary school. His ability to express himself through written word was recognized early on by his parents when, at age nine, he began communicating with his paternal grandparents via handwritten letters after having moved out of state with his immediate family. At age thirteen, Darryl and his family returned to Gary, where in 1975, he graduated from Horace Mann High School.

Possessing natural musical ability as well as academic ability, Darryl began playing bass guitar at about fourteen years of age.  He learned to play by borrowing a boyhood friend’s bass a couple of days a week.  He began playing trombone at age eleven. He played trombone consistently throughout all of his elementary and secondary years of school. After graduating from high school, Darryl enrolled at Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana in the fall of 1975, but stayed for only one semester. During that one semester at college, Darryl earned the opportunity to play in the Purdue University All-American Marching Band.

Choosing to leave college, Darryl obtained gainful employment at an area steel mill as an electrician apprentice in the spring of 1976. Having completed the apprenticeship program and remaining employed as a full time journeyman electrician, Darryl enrolled in Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana. He started attending part time, then starting attending full time. He pursued and eventually earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Graduating with honors, he left the steel mill after over twenty years of service in order to matriculate into a Master’s degree program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. There, he earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, graduating in 2003.

After working briefly as a project director for a research study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Darryl began work as a psychotherapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University in 2005. He developed a successful practice in Chicago – providing a variety of counseling services to individuals, families and groups. In addition, he developed and implemented a very successful mentoring program for boys that was instituted in one of the elementary schools from where he worked as a community counselor in the Chicago Public Schools. He remained employed in his new profession for five years, until a nationwide economic downturn ensued that negatively impacted the stability of his employment. As a result, Darryl decided to leave Chicago and return to his craft as an electrician in a steel-making facility back in Indiana, where he remains employed to this day.

Darryl finds great joy and satisfaction in expressing himself artistically. To date, he has written two books: a book of inspirational poetry entitled The Soul – Shaken & Stirred in 2001, and a novel entitled The Last Days of Paradise and Beyond – The Untold Story of Adam and Eve (Book One) in 2013. In addition to his writing, Darryl is also a playwright and a spoken word artist. He has written several stage plays and has performed at open mic events. Also an experienced musician, Darryl enjoys the creative process of writing original music and performing live on stage. Darryl truly enjoys using his artistic gifts to speak truth and to bring joy to others.

Most important to him, Darryl has been fully committed for many years to his Christian faith and to living a Christian lifestyle. He is guided by the spiritual principles taught in the Bible, and is deeply devoted to pursuing and fulfilling what he believes is his God-given purpose. Darryl is a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife are raising two of their grandchildren – ages eleven and four. Darryl enjoys attending church, attending performing arts events, traveling and, when time permits, disappearing into his creative space.

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