Darnell L. Moore
Author "No Ashes in the Fire", Activist
In writing "No Ashes in the Fire" you set out to search for self, do you believe you were able to accomplish that task?
I rediscovered parts of my self that I had disremembered or lost touch with. The little black boy who smiled big—and always. The adventurous and brave teenager who roamed the streets with trepidation and wonderment. The adult son who had longed for his father's presence and love. I remembered and was healed during the process.
The book (and your life) tackles many subjects; politics, class, race in America, the illusion of the American dream, what it means to be a man, religion, homophobia, abuse, addiction and so much more. How have you managed to keep your head above water for all of these years?
Because I am not alone. And I have never been. I've made it through life's "fires" because of the presence of Spirit, family, friends who have become and family, and so many strangers (who were angels) along the way.
How do we, as a society, succeed in redefining what it means to be a boy/man?
We have to remember that gender can function as a doorway for some and a cage for others. We harm others when we demand they follow the rules and norms we collectively apply to boyhood and manhood. We must remember that we are, as individuals, architects of our personhoods. And the power to create self is ours and not that of society.
How do you bounce back from a defeat?
I remind myself that I've failed many times before and recovered—sometimes I walked away from defeat stronger than I was beforehand. I don't lose sight of the trials I've made it through.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far:
I am still alive, and well, at 42. The fact of my existence, today, is my greatest accomplishment.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Most recently, I had asked Bell Hooks what advice would she give to an author with a debut book and her response was simple, "enjoy it!" I've since tried to slow down enough to count my blessings and to discern the goodness I am experiencing. I've not always enjoyed being. But I do now.
How do you handle criticism when it comes your way?
I am Aquarius, which means I sometimes think I know it all, but I don't. I try my best to hear the truths present in criticism and to view criticism as a consequence of truth telling. And generous truth telling is a consequence of love.
What three books could you read over and over again?
Zami by Audre Lorde,
Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist At Work by Edwidge Danticat, and
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin.
What do you most value in others?
Their capacity to love others.
What/Where is your happy place?
I am most at peace in Atlanta, Georgia—outside, under the warmth of sun, with friends, and good drinks.
How do you define success?
The ability to do that which one feels called to do, or love, with as much heart and energy as possible.
When was the last time you laughed so hard/much that you ended up crying?
I've tried to recall a moment but I can't remember. I laugh a lot to the point of tears, though.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To live. And to live unapologetically.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Shopping for clothes and sneakers.
Describe yourself in 5 words:
Dreamer. Inquisitive. Unafraid. Caring. Introvert.
Which living person do you admire most?
My mother, Diane Chism. She is my hero.
What do you wish to see achieved in the following decade?
Shit, is the remaking of the world and current state of things a possibility?
What is your motto?
Hone in our your passion. Chase it down. And all else will follow.
Any advice for those wanting to become writers/live their best lives?
If you know yourself to be a writer, write. And don't stop. Write.
Any last words?
Just, thank you.
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