Art is a gift to be received and shared and comes in many many forms. Paint, Cook, Travel, Poetry... you name it, if you're sharing creative energy, that's an Art. ~Steph

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Teacher is in! Steven L. Riddick

Meet Poet, Author, Teacher, Fitness Guru, Entrepreneur, Steven L. Riddick. This man stays busy 24/7 and apparently is always working the creative edge. Dedicated to consistent education Steven shares his energetic spirit with us. Check out Steven.

Hi Steven. Thank you so much for chatting with us. Let's start with your childhood. As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

You know, when I was younger I had a plethora of career aspirations as most youth. During the Michael Jackson era, I wanted to be a singer, when I got in middle school; I wanted to be President of the United States. Sadly, the guidance counselor I had at that time assured me that would not be attainable for someone like me. You can read between the lines on that one lol! I went through a lot of different emotions on what to be. Right after undergrad, I decided I would be a politician. I worked on Capitol Hill in Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott’s office as an intern and loved it. Politics is a contact sport so I decided against it after a while.

Did you read and write a lot as a youngster? Did you keep a Journal (diary)?

You know it’s funny that you ask. I remember I started keeping a log back in elementary school. I’d say around maybe the fourth or fifth grade. Even then I was girl crazy. I used to write passionate letters to some of the pretty girls in my class even then! Once my mom picked up my journal and it had an entry regarding an exchange that I had with a young lady in the neighborhood. She was not too happy to say the least but from there is where it started….I also had a teacher in Upward Bound named Mr. Pesapane who would have us do journals and he’d read and respond to our entries. I love the idea of journal logging!

Can you describe the feeling of getting words from heart and head to paper?

WOW! That is a great question… the heart is filled with a variety of emotions. It’s like channeling from the depths of your soul how you want to express your thoughts. Rage, sensuality, romance, frustrations are all emotions that we all feel at some point. Some are just better than others at expressing them in the written form. I think I was blessed with the ability to articulate my thoughts on paper for a reason. It’s almost like being possessed in some degree. Sometimes I can’t sleep because something heavy is in my heart. When I start writing, I can’t stop. It’s like crying in some respects. When you are either happy or sad, you tend to cry until you have relieved all the emotion that created the need to cry. I love writing from my heart.

Where you inspired by any famous or non famous writers? If so, who and why?

I’d say when I was in a course called Success Stories back in high school; it had to be Dr. Maya Angelou. We had been reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and I fell in love with her voice and her eloquence in writing. I also enjoyed song writers as well. Babyface, Big Daddy Kane (I still can recite Smooth Operator word for word!), The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Keith Sweat and most important my momma. She is excellent at written expression as well. I loved the way Babyface could write a love song and make it sound so wonderful. My favorite song of his is Whip Appeal. It is like you can so feel or identify that one woman who had that magical effect on you. His words were real. Big Daddy Kane was someone I looked up to as a teenager. He was smooth, the ladies LOVED him and his rhymes were wicked. Biggie and Pac told stories. With Biggie, you could just see exactly what he was talking about. I try my best to use solid imagery for my readers to follow along. Pac was just in your face and I respect that.

Are you a published writer? If so, where?

Currently I am not published but I will be very soon! My first book will be titled “Read My Soul”. I owe a dear friend of my Ms. Kimberly Simmons for that title. I just started putting together a compilation of poems around the end of October of 2009. My friend Celena Thomas told me to wait until after the Mercury Retrograde before I started writing lol….she is a character who keeps me laughing. The first book will be published through LuLu. I wasn’t sure where to go for publishing but Mrs. Latabia Woodward pointed me in the direction of LuLu after reading a few of my poems posted on Facebook. I promise you an autographed copy of my first book too. I plan to do an anthology and a novel.

Well thank you! I’ll look forward to that! --Steven I have read your poetry. It’s very intense and honestly the longest poems I’ve ever read. :-) Where does it come from? 

LOL!! Thank you very much Stephanie! I am a very intense person. I am intense in EVERY aspect of my life. Some people are not privileged to see certain sides of me. Certain movies, I am left in tears either out of inspiration or sadness. My emotions are deep and I am not afraid to display my sensitivity around the “right” person. I absolutely LOVE black women!!!! When I say I love yall… I LOVE YALL! I have awesome relationships with black women. From the close friends, mentors, past relationships etc I just enjoy reflecting on a variety of ways how I feel about you all. I am also one of those men who love very hard. When I write romance poems, I am opening up my heart. I am displaying that there are some of us men who can let go and really love a woman intimately and passionately. I still believe in that mushy making folks sick to their stomach kind of love.

The poem “The Black Woman” is a poem that I wanted every black woman to feel my conviction, passion, love and devotion to her as a black man. This isn’t to say I dislike women of other ethnic backgrounds because that is so far from the truth. I just adore women who are in the semblance of my grandmother Vera and mother Oralene.

I find that a variety of things motivate me. Pain is something that we all have and continue to experience. I remember once I had a break up that hurt me to the core of my soul. I honestly was in so much pain; I didn’t get off the couch for a week. My friend Eugene pulled me out of that funk by igniting my competitive spirit on Playstation. I channel the pain from then and now for a few other poems. I hope that my poems would help someone else see through their pain and heartache. I also write angry poems. Being a gentle spirited person, some people tend to try to take advantage of you. All I will say is, never ever upset a poet. Yes, I do have some written too.

Can you share a paragraph or two with us?

The poem “The Black Woman” to me would do you all in injustice to cut it short. If I may, I’d like to give you the entire poem for your readers to enjoy.

Beauty, strength, radiance, sensuality, intelligence, grace and timeless elegance
Are some of the many qualities the black woman possess that has given her multi-dimensional reverence
Virtuosity, spirituality, loyalty and devotion are ingredients that give her a sensational and unmistakable preference
Her beautiful and delicate body is nothing short of a remarkable art; it is a work of excellent and majestic design
Her timeless exquisiteness is so eloquently infused; not even elderly age could cause her aesthetical appeal to decline
The black woman to me is the center of the universe; powerful and delightful just as the morning sunshine
From head to toe she is pristine and enchanting; coupled with an angelic countenance that features her enticingly full lips
Her figure is salaciously alluring, historically mystical with her distinct and generational feature being her astounding round hips
Her eyes can be piercing, profound, and inviting with peaceful serenity; yet there is something exhilarating to watch her as she kips.
The mother of Earth, the sister of the stars; my love for the black woman has become increasingly stronger over the years
Whenever there is trouble or time of immediate despair; she is always available in some form to provide comfort from our fears
If I had the highest and mightiest form of prestidigitation; I would work feverishly to ease and suppress each of black women’s tears.
Intimacy with a black woman reflects sentiments of cosmic enchantment; compared to the stars, the moon and the heavens above
The best and most precious gift in life a man could receive; is all or any of her strong, amazing unconditional love
Her touch is golden, her embrace is effervescent her spirit is warm and gentle equivalent to that of a dove
Of all of the riches and prize possessions I could own; the black woman stands alone as a most valuable and priceless treasure
Throughout my journey in life and my trials and tribulations; having her by my side is a glorious and continuous pleasure
While the world at times taunts you and doesn’t give you proper accolades; no other woman in my mind to you in this life will ever measure.

You have so much going on. Talk to me about some of the different creative things you do?

Yeah I guess you could say I have a lot going on (smile) I totally enjoy being busy too. I am working on a new poem called “Don’t Go”. En Vogue was a group I had a crush on since 6th grade so I am using their tune “Don’t Go” as the background of my poem. I use a program to cut and paste certain parts so the looping in the background only consists of the ladies singing the chorus. I am also Area Director of Lango Kids for Charles County, Maryland. This is a business venture that I enjoy because first, it provides an education component that not every student is afforded and second, it is an energetic and entertaining curriculum.
We offer Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and French to pre-school to grade five students afterschool. Being a parent takes creativity on the highest degree too!! My five year old Kamari thinks quick on her feet so therefore I have to one up her on every level to stay ahead of her precociousness. Also my Blog Talk Radio program “The Romantic Interlude Show” is another one of my creative activities. I host that show along with my lovely and awesome co-host, La’Kesha Johnson known as “Poison Ivy”. I totally have a lot of fun preparing and doing that show too!

How do you keep it all going?

That is a great question Stephanie. I will be the first to admit I am so imperfect. I can’t seem to say no. Some one may ask me to do something or participate and I will gladly accept. But I think I maintain by taking some time to do nothing. Some days or weekends, all I do is sit in the house and just relax. Some would say I am always on the go lol…….but I do take some time to smell the roses. That is the only way I’d be able to keep anything going.

I’ve seen you referred to as a Master Educator. What does that mean?

Another great question! A Master Educator is basically a teacher or academic professional who increases his or her knowledge in the principles and practices of the field of education. We do this to understand how best to articulate whatever concepts we are charged with disseminating to our students. There are a variety of concepts on how best to educate, through the M.Ed. program, you basically learn which ones have been most effective and least. We also learn the best methods for teaching and designing Pedagogy (K-12) and Andragogy (Adult) centered curriculums.

You have also taught school. What level did you teach?

I taught 5th grade and I also taught rising 3rd graders during summer school. That was tough with the rising third graders because a lot more patience was required. I also taught at a proprietary school also. That was an experience. They couldn’t understand why I cared so much about how they learned. They were not use to instructors caring I was told.

Was writing a part of your curriculum? If so, what wisdom did you pass on in regards to writing?

I did take a course in writing curriculum. It was interesting. My philosophy is “concept based” curriculum design. I find that to be far more engaging of the student’s learning. Two jobs that concepts have are to focus the study of topics and integrate the curriculum. If I am teaching my students about how the three branches of government work, I can give my students a particular hotbed subject appropriate for their age. They can divide into the US House of Representatives and also the US Senate. Now among them, they can organize two parties based on their ideologies. (Believe me, kids are very smart and can manage such a feat with ease). I can have a student serve as the President and a few as the Supreme Court. Once I explain the procedures, they can clearly understand the basics just from being heavily integrated into the concept. Hope that makes sense…there are some technical procedures missing but I want to keep it from boring your readers (smile).

You’re also into physical fitness?

YES !! I did some modeling shoots and had to really be on my game to do those. I first started in 10 grade with fitness. I was always a skinny guy but I was pretty much in good shape. A friend Qwaku had me and my boy Kelsey doing 200 sit-ups a night training in Tae Kwon Do. I never fell out of love with fitness. Now my diet fluctuates but I love to work out. I have a pull up bar at home and I also have dumb bells and a weight bench. I remember some of my friends saw my fitness shots, they would always say “I didn’t know you looked like that!” I keep it covered well I’d always reply lol…..But fitness is fun for me. Even though I have my lazy days, I enjoy very much working out and helping others too !

Do you have any advice on a starting point for people who want to catch up on healthy fitness?

I am a Team Beach Body Coach also so that is certainly right up my avenue. They can visit my Beach Body site at or email me at regarding some of the programs. I think the first thing is to start getting the distractions out of your way. Don’t say it CAN’T be done. Anything is possible with hard work. Some things may take more work based on genetics. Develop a strong support system in achieving your goals. If you have negative folks around you, they don’t need to be there. Start off slowly and progress from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, our bodies are no different.

It appears that your desire is to do and teach things that positively affect other lives. That’s beautiful. What inspiration would you like to share with up and coming writers, young and old?

Thank you Stephanie! I usually ask people when I get to know them on a personal level, “What are your passions?” That gets a lot of thoughts flowing from every individual. Use your passions as motivation for your writing. Whenever you have passion, everyone can feel it, taste it, see it. I want my readers to not only feel it, but I want them to be able to smell, taste and see it as well. I would say shoot for what passionately ignites their fires. That will certainly be a catalyst for great outcomes.

Thank you so much Steven. You are an inspiration and absolutely motivating. Pssst… I’ll be looking forward to that signed book!
Please look for more of Steven’s poetry or follow him on Facebook

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Stephanie Jordan, Diviacity

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