A Lesson from Ellia English
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
From the glittering lights of Hollywood sound stages to the hallowed stages of the Great White Way, Triple Threat Entertainer Ellia English has had an indelible impact in theater, television and motion pictures.
From her renowned stage roles in Dreamgirls and Ain’t Misbehavin’, to her memorable role as Aunt Helen on The Jamie Foxx Show, to her current role as Auntie Rae on the hit HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ellia English has established herself as an artist of the first order.
So it should come as no surprise, that Ms. English has added to her considerable artistic body of work, the title ‘Author’ with the publication of her first novel: I AM THAT I AM, A Journey Through Add-Ol-Less-Sense (Xulon Press).
I AM THAT I AM is a compilation of inspired poems, passages and observations which represents the accumulated knowledge and hard won wisdom that Ellia has acquired over a lifetime spent in search of positive inspiration, while challenging conventional wisdom and overcoming obstacles. Ellia is a self acknowledged “late bloomer” and in I AM THAT I AM, Ellia shares the life lessons she’s learned in her “late adolescence” with an eye towards what makes sense and should be kept and what doesn’t make sense and should be discarded, hence the subtitle of her book: A Journey Through Add-Ol-Less-Sense.
Ellia will be signing copies of her new book this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009 from 7:00PM – 8:30 PM at the EsoWon Books, 4331 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008. In addition she will also be signing copies and reading from her new book I AM THAT I AM this Friday, September 4, 2009 from 8:30pm – 9:15pm at Word Center Church of Los Angeles 2705 W. Florence Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90043.
Sentinel: First off tell me how you got the title for the book (I Am That I Am) and then tell me what brought about you writing this book?
Ellia English (EE): Well the title, I just feel like it was just downloaded into me because I had no idea what the title of the book was going to be when I was commissioned I believe to write it. The book is my story from my experiences told poetically through creative writing. It’s about me but it’s not about me. Many people who have already read it and have gotten back to me with their comments, they say “Ellia it starts out sounding like we are reading about you but then all of a sudden you drop out and it’s just about a journey”. And that’s what I love about it and that’s what inspired me to write it is to be something to encourage, uplift and edify the reader.
Sentinel: What would you like the readers take home with them when they read this book?
EE: Definitely something they can carry with them daily to be edified. There are topics about the crooked manager, topics that I talk about “Crazy over You”, dealing relationships, dealing with love and dealing with just personal experiences. There’s one that I have that’s called “Little Mama”. It’s one of those that if you are having one of those days and it seems like you just can’t get started and you are sitting there and it’s what happened to me.
Sentinel: Have you always written creatively and poetically? Give me an idea of your background as a writer.
EE: I’ve been writing since probably since I was in high school. I developed a love for writing then because often times I was really shy believe it or not and so when I would express myself when I was younger I would do it through writing. But then after I moved away from home and being alone there was no one with me, I started journaling and it was through the journaling that they started coming out like as poems and songs through lyrics and this of that nature. And so when I felt like I was given the call to write the book I was told to gather up those journals and I have been writing journals since way back in like the late 70’s early 80’s and I grabbed a lot of those writings and into my current writings and I didn’t know which that I was suppose to take so I just kept gathering them and being obedient and just typing them up into my computer. I didn’t know how they were going to be put in. I didn’t know what the order was going to be but it truly was my love for those whom God loves and wanted to bless and my greatest desire to be obedient to the call to write the book. And I knew I couldn’t stop until it was published.
Sentinel: While you were gathering your information and your past writings for your book, what did you learn about yourself or what did you re-visit about yourself that you may have forgotten?
EE: One of the things that it definitely did was it encouraged me. I was being encouraged by my own writings and it was edifying me to realize the growth, the journey, my journey where I had come from what I had gone through and where I am today. That was really when I thought what if somebody else could be encouraged, edified and uplifted by these particular writings.
Sentinel: What advice would you give to people striving and pushing forwarded toward their aspirations and goals?
EE: This is how is say it Brandon, I don’t usually choose it as given advice, what I usually love to do is share. It’s your choice to take it and do with it what you will. And what I would like to share with the young women and men is get your education. If you ever get a chance to visit my website (www.eliaenglish.com) you will see it says, “Ellia’s rules, stay in school. Ellia’s theme, follow your dream.