Interview with Romford Recorder
Rosaleen Fenton - Romford Recorder
"I had friends who never got to achieve their full potential - one of them was murdered and the others dropped out of school, and this motivated me to work harder."
After leaving school with few GCSE's and feeling unsure of his future, Dwain Brown, from Romford, wasn't sure what he could do."
Now, the spoken word artist, qualified counsellor and behaviour mentor wants to show kids that anything is possible.
Teenagers aren't known for their love of poetry, but Dwain is convinced it is the best way to spread his motivational messages.
He has launched a campaign on crowd funding website Kickstarter, where supporters can help him raise the £800 he needs to publish a book of poetry aimed at teenagers.
After helping pupils realise their potential he wants to spread his motivational message across the country, but needs some help.
Dwain said: "I've always enjoyed poetry but I didn't get the chance to explore that at school".
"As I've got older and had the opportunity to explore it, I began to see how powerful it can be to send messages."
"I know how pupils feel when they are discouraged, and underachieving, and I want to show them why they should never give up on anything. "
These teens have so much potential and I hope my poetry can encourage them."
In his book, Ordinary to Extraordinary, Dwain has drawn on his experiences as a counsellor at St Edward's Church of England School, Romford.
He said: "In school we see things such as bullying, self-doubt, those who are self-harming, broken homes, depression, no father figure and many more issues that may affect a student's learning, creating self-defeating barriers.
"So in this book I look at these factors and express my own stories to encourage others to keep fighting no matter what they are going through."
The poems challenge topics such as sexist portrayals of women and the dangers of stereotypes and are illustrated by Swedish graphic designer Mia Borstrand.
At school, Dwain found he didn't always receive support and encouragement from his teachers.
He said: "I remember going into my English class and I was a few weeks behind.
"The teacher just looked at me and said there was no point coming in."
"I felt small and ridiculed, which was horrible."
To see Mia's work, visit miaborstrand.com.
Interview by Jade Moore - 2016
It’s that time again, and this month we are welcoming Dwain Brown to the collection of featured authors. Not only has he written and published his book Ordinary to Extraordinary, he is a qualified counsellor, and uses his training to motivate young people. His book stems from his work with students in school, and mixes creativity with a serious need to inspire the younger generation through spoken word poetry. So, if you want to feel motivated and get an insight into Dwain’s writing process, then look no further.
About The Author:
Photo credit: Nicole Gordon [Grey Suit - Dwain Brown]
Dwain Brown is an author, counsellor, spoken word artist and poet who paints vivid pictures with his illustrious words of wisdom. Dwain is an inspirational speaker who grew up in East London, England. He works with young adults and teenagers in a school, where he implements his counselling skills to help motivate disaffected students. He published his first poetry collection entitled Ordinary to Extraordinary in 2016.
Describe your ideal writing atmosphere.
On a beach with beautiful sunsets, in the Caribbean being serenaded by the sound of the sea. Feeling energised by the sun-rays, enjoying the aroma of jerk chicken and the authentic rhythm of Reggae music.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to start?
I began writing from the age of 14, in year 10 when I gave in a poem based around my favourite football player. It was an inspirational piece, metaphorically talking about scoring goals and achieving them. My English teacher graded my work as a B, which encouraged me to carry on writing. However, over the years life has been my biggest influence in terms of being inspired to write.
Describe your writing style.
My writing style consists of poetry, spoken word, rap, rhythmic phrases and punchlines. I like to motivate people and encourage autonomy, comfort, hope and self-belief. My passion is to motivate others to be the best they can be and encourage the next generation to make this world a better place in the future. So at times I talk about my experiences or talk on behalf of others, especially students or parents expressing strong passion and emotions.
"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must writeit" - Toni Morrison. What kind of story that hasn't been written yet do you want to read?
To be honest this is particularly hard to answer, as I feel there are some quality books out there that I have read or will be looking to read that covers most of my interests.
Nevertheless, I guess I would like something that will capture the essence of hardship and becoming successful through positive changes based on someone from a familiar background such as East London or London in general. Because that gives our younger generation hope that anything is possible regardless of your circumstances and the incentive to push forward in their pursuit of happiness.
Name any authors or books that have had an impact on your writing.
Maya Angelou’s poetry books hit me like a heavy weight boxer looking for the knock out. Her words blew me away and her style of writing was so genuine and pure. She revealed her soul, her pain and truly touched and inspired me. Her books have taught me to be true and honest in my approach in regards to writing poetry.
Describe the moment you truly felt like an author.
I created a Kickstarter page to raise funds for my debut book. The aim was to make as much copies and get them into schools. I managed to reach my target and publish my book for the first time, earning a spot in the local newspaper. At that moment, I felt like an author especially when I managed to get a copy in a school library. I will always cherish that wonderful experience.
What book by another author do you wish you'd written?
One of my favourite books that inspired me to embrace my imagination and believe that anything is possible was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book is empowering, motivational and very creative, every chapter had me on the edge of my seat.
What is the best thing about writing / being a writer?
Being able to express your freedom through writing is such a great feeling. In my line of work it is important to de-clutter your mind and have some quality alone time in order to find that therapeutic balance. I find writing therapeutic and a way of getting things off my chest; I tend to write when I am going through the emotions, happy, sad, angry, or upset. Writing is a positive outlet for me and witnessing the impact on others in a positive sense encourages me to continue.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be yourself and write about things you have a passion for, deliver with confidence and do not be afraid of making mistakes. Believe in your craft and ability, explore suitable options in regards to publishing and get yourself out there through all outlet forms such as Instagram, Twitter, facebook, Kickstarter etc.
Tell the story behind your latest book, why did you write it?
My book Ordinary to Extraordinary is a collection of poems that are based on challenging the mind set of teenagers, challenging school systems and societal confinement. I have worked in schools and analysed the mindset of disaffected students. Many have different and complex stories that may have hindered their studies or their path in life. I wrote this to show teenagers and anyone who is going through hardship that anything is possible. I have performed my poems in school shows and assemblies, where students were inspired to change their ways and become successful. They really connected with what I was saying, so I wanted to reach out to more young people and decided on writing a book.
Most inspiring quote?
There are many quotes that have inspired me but if I was to choose one, it would be the following.
“Enter action with boldness” law 28 of 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene
“A leader must move with nothing less than absolute confidence. The bolder the lie, the better. It is by the greatness of the lie does the enemy no longer sees the lie. The sheer audacity of the lie makes it more convincing. Audacity creates fear and thus becomes power and, with power, anyone can do the impossible”.
Which author (living or dead) would you like to have dinner with?
Maya Angelou. I would like to soak in all of her wisdom and leave dinner feeling inspired by our constructive conversations about life and possibilities.
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
I don’t really read a lot of fictional books, so I would go with Superman, because I like what he represents. He represents strength, courage and hope even though he helps people and fights off the villains; he also has a weakness and a vulnerable side just like all of us. Therefore, in a strange way his imperfections show us that we are not all perfect.
How do you beat writers block?
The book Bounce by Matthew Syed talks about the power of practice, I feel practicing particular strategies to overcome writers block is imperative. My writing comes from everything around me, for example life, my working environment, the news, family and friends. Therefore, I try to embrace and reflect on all the experiences that affect and influence my life. From engaging conversations with people to listening to music or picking up a book that inspires you to write.
Give yourself some writing advice.
Listen to your heart and complete the second book.
What are your plans for the future? What writing projects are you currently working on?
In the very near future, there should be a second book. I am working on it as we speak. This book will be filled with plenty of passion and inspiring narratives. The book should be amazing and I am excited about sharing it with everyone.
Ordinary to Extraordinary is a collection of poetry, focusing on the mindset of teenagers in today’s society. Through each poem, Dwain Brown shares a piece of himself, highlighting a personal view of the world that surrounds him. Your perception on the world reflects in your every day life and he feels that we are capable of moulding ourselves to become extraordinary beings.
His debut book challenges the school systems, challenges your mind set and challenges you to think out of the box and step away from your comfort zone, be extraordinary.