A Black Scholar’s Path From Drug Dealing to ‘30 Under 30’

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By Mychal Denzel Smith

A Memoir
By Brandon P. Fleming

If you are a writer and have made the mistake of telling people so, there is a good chance that you have heard some version of this response: “You should write about me, I have a lot of stories to tell.” What these people generally mean is that they have experienced (or had a life ripe with) conflict, drama, suspense, sorrow, hardship and/or humor, and that these episodes may intrigue an audience. But an event, the writer knows, is not the same thing as a story; not all occurrences in the lived world, no matter how extraordinary, necessarily constitute material for narrative. The story, rather, lies in the effort to make meaning of, or ask probing questions about, ideas and beliefs behind events, the writer concerned less with the who, what, when and where than with the why.

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