Putting Faith To Purpose: An Origin Story

Originally published on The Nerds of Color

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A great visionary by the name of Cindi Mayweather once said, “Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness.”

My name is Dennis R. Upkins. I’m a speculative fiction author who writes urban fantasy, YA, and superhero fantasy. Storytelling has always been my calling, but sometimes fate has to put you on the path. The key is to be astute when the signs present themselves.

It was two years ago and I had a homecoming of sorts as I was back in Atlanta for Gaylaxicon/Outlantacon. The con was a smashing success but that was to be expected. What wasn’t expected however was the revelation I would receive repeatedly throughout the weekend.

While in town I also had the chance to catch up with my best friend, my brother, William. We had dinner and caught up with each other’s lives and we both discussed the hardships of the job-force. Our discussion forced me to ponder on what I’m doing with my life. Was I happy working the day job I worked? Am I content in my writing career? And as I expressed to Will, there’s more to life than the day-to-day rat race that we’re forced to endure.

A similar discussion emerged when I caught up with my other sibling and fellow storyteller, Amaya Radjani when she brought me up to speed on some exciting opportunities that she’d been offered. I found myself asking again, where am I? Where am I going? Am I happy? What am I going to do about it?

When I was younger, I swore that I was never going to become the guy who asked where did he go wrong in life and why is he stuck in a bad predicament. The signs kept pointing that there was something I had to learn this weekend, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Then the damnedest thing happened. While I was in the hotel room, the movie Office Space was on. Of all the movies HBO could’ve played, they played the one movie where the protagonist was facing the same dilemma that I was facing at that time, that weekend.

I stopped believing in coincidences years ago. Call it fate, call it God, call it some sophisticated scientific probability. The message was being given loud and clear, it’s time to step out on faith and fulfill my purpose. I didn’t know how this was going to happen.

And no sooner did I return to work on Monday did some foolishness pop off and I knew right then and there, the time had come for me to move on and to fully embrace my purpose in life.

And what is my purpose?

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I’m a bard, a storyteller, bard, writer, griot. It is my art, it is my blessing, and the curse I’m burdened with. I have to write to stay sane. Whether it’s penning a blog entry for Livejournal, formulating an essay speaking out on the issues of minorities, utilizing visual art to convey a story or share a profound truth, or writing another novel, this is my power. Like a shaman who uses his gifts, words are my tools to build, to aid, and in certain cases my weapons to protect. I share my story and the stories of others. I share our truths in an effort to make the world just a little bit better.

Since that time I’ve released my second novel and have become a full-time writer.

And I’m just getting started.

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