Kelis Rowe, Finding Jupiter

Kelis Rowe, Finding Jupiter

1. I did things late-ish, and that’s okay. I had my first baby at 30. I started writing my first book at 39. Sold it the same year I had another baby at 42. That book, Finding Jupiter, is being published on June 2. I’m 44. Please, if you see a life for yourself that looks different than your life today, keep visualizing it and dreaming about it until the visions turn into actions toward that life. If it’s a deep desire that feels like it’s been with you forever, that’s your purpose. Get after it!

2. I have self-diagnosed social anxiety, and that’s okay too. I was so excited to get to high school when I didn’t have to eat in the cafeteria. I’d eat under the stairs outside or share poetry in a more intimate dim space of the theater with the other artsy kids. I’m a fish out of water most places, but my life is full of friends and invitations. Do I accept the invitations? Yes, a lot of the times. Do I need at least two days of solitude and silence to recover? Sure! Do I get those two days? Sometimes. Now, as a published author, I’m going to have to do a lot more socializing, but interacting with readers, especially teen readers, who are touched by the book that I wrote for them is worth the amount of growth it’s going to take me to keep writing for them. This is my dream and it requires growth and I’m here for it.

3. I love Beyoncé. I really, really love Beyoncé. Aside from being Queen of my zodiac sign, she creates art with purpose and meaning that is clearly meant to embrace, uplift and inspire Black people, yet it embraces and inspires anyone who experiences it with an open mind and heart. Goals.

4. I love James Taylor. When I was a little kid in the 80’s, I saw him singing “Jellyman Kelly” on Sesame Street. It was the combination of his voice, his nice-person face, the silly song— whatever it was I was hooked. There was a black girl sitting right next to him singing along and I was so jealous. His Greatest Hits cassette tape was the first music I purchased when my brother got me a boom box in middle school. I attend his concerts solo, because I don’t know anyone who loves him as much as me and you are not welcome unless you stand and sing along to everything- don’t kill my vibe. The main character in my book is listening to James Taylor and Beyoncé in key scenes in Finding Jupiter.

5. I always wanted a treehouse. There was a towering oak tree in the middle of our massive backyard and my siblings and I always wanted a treehouse in it. We never got one, but the main character in my book has one that is sacred. She also lives in the neighborhood and house I grew up in. So I kinda sorta finally got my treehouse. Did I mention that I wrote the book of my dreams?

6. I’m 6’2” barefoot. I’m from a tall family— my sister, is 5’10”, twin brother is 6’4”, mom is 6’1” and dad is 6’6”. When you see me in person, you’ll probably comment on it, which is fine. But to save you the trouble: Yes, I played basketball but only recreationally. Yes, it feels great towering over most people in the room, like an Amazon warrior queen, especially wearing 3-inch heels. Sure! I’ll grab that item for you off the top shelf, my pleasure.

7. When I was 20, I was an opener at the busiest Starbucks in Washington D.C. at the time, Dupont Circle. I arrived at 4 AM and left so happy at 11 AM. It’s located right in the middle of two subway stops, so from the time the doors opened, cups and espresso and bagels were flying non-stop. There was a regular who lived in the apartment on top of the store whom I envied. I lived for my break, because people-watching through the window of a sun-drenched, bustling Starbucks on Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. is *chef’s kiss*. I was in D.C. for two seasons on mental health break from college and living with my sister in a condo a block away. I loved working at Starbucks and it’s the only job that I’ve ever had…ever…that I would do again if I had to.