By Sonya Walker
I was first introduced to the name Terrie Williams when her first book, The Personal Touch (Warner Books; $13.95), came out.
I was impressed then and even more so after not only reading her newest release, A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through Seven Living Virtues (Warner Books; $22.95), but having the esteemed pleasure of meeting with her in her hotel room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.
Quite frankly, I was relieved to experience that Ms. Williams was just as open and personable as she leads readers to connect with, in her writing. My passion is to help people -- I love to see people coming together as one -- I just pick em up wherever I go, Ms. Williams stated throughout the interview. It is obvious through her work and in talking to her that she is truly, first and foremost a people person.
Social worker by training, public relations professional by her design, published author, sought-after lecturer, dealmaker, mentor, executive coach, community activist, president of the Terrie Williams Agency, a New York City-based marketing and communications firm, and president and co-founder of The Stay Strong Foundation, a nationally acclaimed non-profit organization that supports, educates and inspires youth, Williams seemed to have it all.
On the contrary, Williams was strained by her demanding and often frantic schedule. It was through a long forgotten Kwanzaa card, she found one sleepless night, that she rediscovered joy, balance, meaning and harmony. In A Plentiful Harvest, Williams talks candidly and frankly to her readers about developing seven living virtues. Using powerful reflections, meditations, and journaling in a 52 week period, Williams takes the reader step by step to bring balance and wholeness to those who are overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
When I asked Williams what one of her greatest pleasures this year was, she stated, I have to say that when A Plentiful Harvest came to the bookstore. It was hell getting this book done. Williams said that it took her about two years to complete this book and unlike her other two books, I missed a few deadlines and that was difficult for me to accept. I know none of us is perfect but I always pride myself on being punctual. I just didnt think it was going to get done. Really, seriously, I was ready to throw up my hands. I really went through the fire on this. But when I got the finished product I was really (tears filling her eyes) it just felt good. I remember, I dont even remember when, but I remember a long time ago saying that I wanted to write books but its not my strength to sit down and write. Im not a wordsmith. So the fact that God has seen fit to allow me to do three books thats like, damn, you know? So, I look at this little body of work here thats touching a lot of people and I feel so blessed.
Do you celebrate Kwanzaa every year, I asked? No. I celebrate its principles every day of my life. I dont celebrate Christmas either. Years ago, maybe somewhere in the middle of college, I thought that it was total insanity to make yourself crazy that one time of the year to just be looking for presents. To put yourself under that kind of pressure, I just refuse to do that. If you and I talk and you mention something that you like, Im making a mental note of it and Im sending it to you because you said that you wanted it or you intonated that it was something that was important. Thats just how I am. Im not waiting for Christmas. So thats why I just dont feel pressure.
What I do like about the holidays is the fact that things slow down a little bit and that I can visit with people that I really care about. There just doesnt seem to be the time during the regular year. Everyday I think about how I can make a difference and I really try to honor those virtues. Its a struggle. Even people who are reviewing the book who are editors, who usually assign it to someone else to do, they didnt. They felt like it was something they needed to read. Of course its got its flaws, but people have said that they were drawn to it because I dont have it all together. I wasnt acting like I have it all together and I dont have it all together so thats what they were drawn to.
As I walked out of her hotel room (awe struck) that afternoon, I wanted to scream like I had just won the lottery (but I waited till I got in the car). I was so filled with an exuberant amount of energy, motivation and encouragement because being in her presence just transcends reading the book. Talk about a people person, before I could ask her for her contact information, she asked for mine. Included on hers was not only her office phone number but her cell phone as well. Can you believe it? I couldnt. Although this book is targeted to women, Williams says this is everybodys story. Everybodys gone through the fire, bar none. So if you or someone you know is stressed out, overwhelmed, or just needing to take stock of their life and do things differently, then this is the book to get. But I caution you! Beware of reaping A Plentiful Harvest.
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