FIRST SEVEN LINES:
“A little bit of game and a whole lot of truth. Life is just like that. For whatever it’s worth to the buyer so much game is sold worldwide people forget the truth is free upfront; it only costs on the back end of damage when ignored initially. Games are created, curated and cultured just for our liking, for the sole purpose of captivating our undivided attention in competitive and unyielding quests to gain a form of satisfaction to some extent within the soul; if not for being ridiculous.
Still we ogle over the ideology of winning in the game, we feign over the thought of not having game, and in the same breath vow to never let another game us up. It seems that this thing we all call game exists in many fine lines. Parallels of loss and gain, love and hate, power and oppression—game and games never allow you to have one without the other.”
Shelf Unbound: “The Journey Through a Thousand Lies”—what does the title mean?
Natriece L. Spicer: Life is a conundrum of discovery and games verses truth. We are born into a world we have to learn for ourselves, and one of the greatest tools to fully living is having an in-depth and clear understanding of who we are at every interval. We change and so does the world—it is inevitable. As my mom has often told me: “Life ain’t all bad, but it ain’t all good either.”Amongst the fun and flair is an undertone of seriousness, young and old people of all walks need to pay attention to how we live and what we are grounded in. While surviving, existing, enjoying the moments and hopefully having some fun we should strive to live a full life. The fulfillment comes from taking ownership—learning who you are, being firm in what is true for your experience and not taking whatever is made easily available to you like leftovers (although leftovers can be awesome if well prepared). As a farmer might say, learn to harvest your own crop and you’ll feast for a lifetime. The Journey Through a Thousand Lies simply means “Do more than exist—be grounded in your truths and live your full life now.”
Shelf Unbound: What interested you in writing a book that was part inspiration, part poetry?
Spicer: I wasn’t particularly interested in that at all. Originally, I wanted to write an urban allegory novel, and a biography of my mother’s memoirs. I’d already planned on publishing a separate collection of older poetry. Then a lot of life continued to happen over a period of three years and I kept a journal of notes along the way. I never published either of the three pieces as intended. Instead, one day (about two years into the process) while in a bad space I searched through some older pages of the journal for insight/help and found it to be very valid. I kept reading and a voice in my head said “use it for someone else’s good. Once you come out on the other end of your situation(s) and finish this journal it will be a book.” Sure enough as I reviewed the work of heart, I found these to be solid and timeless principles I was using repeatedly through many circumstances to be firm in my own truth and to fight the trials and tribulations of “adulating.” I discovered that not only was I surviving some tough circumstances but I had learned so much about myself through introspection and perseverance. I discovered that in three years of trials, I had also made great sense of all the prior turmoil and triumphs alike. I was literally walking myself through living a fuller life as I was journaling, although at the time it seemed like only venting about being a genuine person in a world full of lies and deceit. My true interest, as I grew to understand what I had written, was in the sincerity of my work. I have an earnest regard for people of all backgrounds and tender affection for the Black community. I’ve always been a natural helper and healer. Through my process, I was doing these things for myself and simultaneously increasing my compassion for other people that could be considered both good and bad. I had a heartfelt moment of understanding that we all want to really live our lives in detail no matter what type of lifestyles we choose and that it costs the same thing to win as it does to lose. We pay the same price whether we have good character or succumb to malice. The poetry was later created and infused as part of the finishing touches; poetry is my first passionate experience and my forever love. I wanted to adhere to “the voice” and really use this book as a pivotal point in turning my life of being a born giver into a career of helping other people. Once I titled the book I knew for sure part of my journey was poetry and that it had to be included in the book.
Shelf Unbound: You perform slam poetry around the San Francisco Bay Area—what is your performance like?
Spicer: These days I do more open mic performances than slams but I have gotten some feedback from recent slams. One judge at the Awaken Café Oakland Slam said my performance was new and refreshing. I have been told that my choice of verbiage is like a breath of fresh air and thought provoking. Many of my counterparts have said that the infusion of faith and introspection within my work is essential, well-received and heartfelt. A local poet and rapper named L.E.X told me that for the first time in a very long time she actually felt something from poetry as if the words reached into her and snatched out emotion. My unique array of personalities often co-exist in presentation. I do not really like to use the word performance because even in a show setting I am contributing genuine parts of myself. There is never a time when I am offering fallacies—for better or worse I aim to be transparent, possibly even to a fault. My second book Shadow Boxing has a poem titled “Finger Foods” which discusses my desire to engulf my full character in everything I do. I want to give people me in all facets—even when dishing myself out like finger foods, I carefully display the platter of my being with a serving of mind, body, spirit, love and soul in each offering. To partake in a good dose of my likeness: blend a dramatic and colorful personality, with a good natured yet bold and alluring appeal, a dreamer’s heart and a philosopher’s mindset. Be ready for anything and willing to make physical contact – as Ms. Tamara Mason coined it, I give “Life Affirming Hugs.”
Shelf Unbound: You grew up in the projects in San Francisco. What message would you give to your young self?
Spicer:“Hi, Young Triece. Those brown eyes hold so much, your mind is so full of awe for Earth, existing and living—keep a vision but look at yourself and see your own glory as well. You are worth the work and the focus right now. Do not get side tracked with other people claiming to love you, either way you are going to spread love deep and wide – do not expect it in return. You’ve already seen far too much for a teenager and survived unmentionable nightmares—you yield a super power version of love, you own the table of hearts, protect your tenderness and know that your internal strength is unmatched. You will mess up but it will be to your benefit in the end. Trust your gut—your intuition is impeccable, scarily even close to psychic. Believe the little voice in your head – you aren’t crazy and God will never lie to you, He has chosen you as a special child of His own. Take bigger chances now, you’ll end up doing this more often later in life anyway. You’re going to be okay despite how life feels like it caves in on your spirit and attempts to crush your dreams. Oh and about those dreams—nothing will be able to take them away from you and nothing can stop them from coming to fruition; not even you—just wait and see! Most importantly, I adore you, as odd as it sounds for you to hear. I always held hope for you as I sat up ahead in life, I was meant for you and I vow to make all of your pain and sacrifice and love and optimism worthwhile. Because of you I will do more than exist, I will thrive. You’ll be with me in spirit every step of the way. I won’t forget what it costs you and will pay it forward so that as many people as we can reach will be encouraged to live well, to be better, to live free. You are a treasure and I am forever your keeper. So smile honey—you got one exceptional dose of Black Girl Magic.”
Shelf Unbound: What do you want readers to take away from your book?
Spicer: I want people to think. I want them to contemplate themselves and reflect on what is uncovered or confirmed. Motivation and inspiration will come. But first I really need people to stop and think.
Shelf Unbound: What is the most important lesson life has taught you that you share in the book?
Spicer: Life is a one-way trip without returns and costs the same fee to merely exist as it does to live vibrantly. The fact is either way we are all priceless. Our divine purpose is to embody our truths which is why we are given a unique trail in the first place; we simply need to embrace the journey and weed out the lies along the way in order to travel freely.
Shelf Unbound: Who are your literary influences?
Spicer: Boldly speaking, I’d say the Holy Spirit is my absolute greatest character/behavior influence of all time; the influencer for all the authors of the book dearest to my heart—the Bible. Yet, if influence is also the ability to have an affect on artistic or personal development I have a plethora of inspirations.
Below is a list of some lifetime favorites.
Clifford Harris (T.I.P)
Zora Neal Hurston