Bachelorette star, author, and media personality Rachel Lindsay joins Writing Black to talk about her new fiction novel “Real Love,” which she says is loosely based on her life. Maiysha and Rachel discuss Rachel’s time on The Bachelorette, how she almost turned down the chance to be on the show, her numerous different ventures, what made her dive into the art of fiction writing, and a whole lot more!
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[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified
Maiysha Kai [00:00:07] Hello and welcome back to Writing Black. I am, as always, your host, Maiysha Kai, lifestyle editor here at theGrio. And today we have a guest I’m sure a lot of you will recognize. I’m really excited to have her here. You may recognize her as the first ever Black bachelorette on The Bachelorette. You may recognize her as co-host of the Higher Learning Podcast with Van Lathan, or you may recognize her as the author of Miss Me. With that her book of essays about her experience in the zeitgeist. But she’s here today. Ms. Rachel Lindsay, or I should say, Mrs. Rachel Lindsay Abasolo with her new novel, Real Love, which this is delightful. It’s a little like romance, but it’s also a little inspiring. We’re going to get into it. Hey, Rachel, how are you doing?
Rachel Lindsay [00:00:54] I am very good. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy we could make this happen.
Maiysha Kai [00:00:59] I am, too. You know, it was a pleasure. You and Van hosted me on Higher Learning, right, for the holidays, and I was so eager to have you on as our guest, because I think you have become such a significant pop cultural figure inadvertently in some ways. You know, I don’t know if you intended it that way. You know, things happen. But, you know, in terms of cultural conversations, you’ve been in the center of some really important ones. And this book is a departure, I think, in a way for you in terms of what you’ve been doing the last few years. And yet it isn’t. It starts with a twist that I really enjoyed, and I don’t want to spoil it for people, but I do want people to read it. And I know you drew a bit, obviously, from your own experience on television for this. So let’s talk about where the plot from for Real Love came from.
Rachel Lindsay [00:01:54] Yeah. So first off, thank you for that amazing introduction I saw when I was approached to write about my my life, my book of Will. It turned out to be a book of essays, but the nonfiction books that I had, I had this idea always. And when I was approached to write a book initially, I was like, No, I don’t. I’m not ready yet. It’s not time to tell my story. And I’m glad I waited because more things happen. So at the same time that I said, okay, I’m ready, I said, Hey, I also have this other idea because of the way. Now I’ll preface this by saying the book is loosely, very loosely based off of my life. But it is it does draw inspiration of where I was at a point in my life and certain things that I went through. And I think that’s why the readers will find it so relatable. So I always check myself by remembering the girl who almost said no to an experience that changed the entire course of my life. I was so ready to say no. I was looking for nos and I’m speaking to the moment where two coworkers come into my office, knock on my door and say, “Hey, you should be on The Bachelor.” And I laugh and I say, “No, Black people don’t do that show.” And they said, “No. If you do it, it’ll be great for you. We think you would go far”. And they were right. They could see something in me that I didn’t see. I also wasn’t daring enough to say yes, initially. I was scared. And so this book and I don’t think it’s necessarily giving it away, but that’s where you find the protagonist, this book, she says no to going on to reality TV and you see her explore her life in that way. And that was important for me because that was almost me. I was that girl was checking off the boxes for her life plan. And when I go back and I look at my life plan because I discussed that in my book of essays, it’s so different from the life that I’m living now and I am so much more happy. So I wanted to explore of what if I had said no and I stayed in that dead end relationship and I stayed in that job that even though it’s always what I wanted to do, it wasn’t fulfilling. Life wasn’t fulfilling me. And I think very often as people, we do that in certain points in our lives. And if you haven’t done it yet, it will eventually come to you and you have to make this decision. And I wanted to do and that’s what’s so fun about fiction, because you do get to do that when you write. And so that’s kind of where the idea came from.
Maiysha Kai [00:04:27] You know, I love that because I’m a big one. On the what if narrative, right? You know, that I grew up on Choose Your own adventure books and you know, and you’re always wondering, you know, I can definitely say for myself, like, what would have happened if I’d gone left instead of right? Yes. You know, if I had, I don’t know, married the first guy I fell in love with or not gone to, you know, gone to this school instead of the school or, you know, and you think about all these different trajectories your life could have taken. What about this protagonist, Maya? Is that, as you said, she really is kind of I always joke that there comes a point somewhere between, you know, we talk about people talk about the Saturn return that happens and you. Late twenties, which is where Maya is at this point. For some of us late bloomers, it may have happened a little later, but there comes a point for, I think in most people’s lives where you find yourself butting your head up against the expectations of who you thought you would be, who you thought you wanted to be. Right. You know. Yes. And so what’s so refreshing here is watching this protagonist go through this and be messy and, you know, in the process and her friends are messy, everything about it, you know, and kind of question those life choices in real time.
Excerpt from Real Love [00:05:40] The ringer on my phone goes off again. My finger hovers over the ignore button, ready to send the call to voicemail. But at the last second, I decide to answer it. What if Delilah finally came to her senses and took off to a small village in Mexico where nobody would ever recognize her from that one American TV show where she spent 12 weeks kissing strangers. That’s news I’d want to hear in real time.
Maiysha Kai [00:06:08] Also, love that it’s not a predictable, even though I consider it, you know, to fall within the realm of romance to a certain extent.
Rachel Lindsay [00:06:16] Yes.
Maiysha Kai [00:06:17] It’s not specifically that, It’s just as much about friendship. It’s about work. It’s about self-awareness. Self-development.
Rachel Lindsay [00:06:24] Yes.
Maiysha Kai [00:06:25] All those kind of things. Why was that important to you to kind of interweave all those things together?
Rachel Lindsay [00:06:30] I love that you said that it’s not necessarily predictable. And I actually had a friend who said to me, she’s like, oh, I don’t know how people don’t feel that it’s in this genre because it doesn’t output a certain way. And I said, Well, I think that’s what’s interesting about it, because it’s kind of one of the themes in the book Life doesn’t happen the way that you think it is. And I do love Choose Your own Adventure, and I feel like that’s kind of where the book takes you. And even towards the end, without giving anything away, it was because this book really does pull on some real life events for me. I wanted to explore all these things because even though this is fiction, in a lot of ways, the things that Maya goes through with family, with career, with love were very, very real to me. And I think a part of how what people people I guess they’ve got to know me through my podcast or maybe things I do on TV or my my first book or things that they’ve read about me, you know, that I am just I put it all out there. I don’t like to hide things. And I, I feel like I get to do that in this fiction book. I wanted I really wanted to tell to explore everything. I didn’t want it to go a certain way. And I feel like that’s in line with who I am. And then another thing being The Bachelorette, you are put up to be perfect.
Maiysha Kai [00:07:56] Yeah.
Rachel Lindsay [00:07:56] Like you’re in this fairy tale world where you are the perfect woman, the most desirable woman in the country. And all these men are coming to see you, and they put you in these beautiful ball gowns and you’re made up and your hair’s always done. And I actually remember saying to Brian now as my husband, but in the fantasy suite, I said, “You do realize I am not always this person?” And that’s a part of my story that I didn’t like because that’s not real life. We are messy. And so I wanted the protagonist in the book to be messy. I wanted her relationships with her friends, with, you know, who she was dating, even a little bit with her job, with her family. I wanted it to be that because I wanted it to be relatable. And so much of how people met me originally was not that. And so I wanted to explore more of that in this book because that is more me, that’s more us. So it’s important for me to touch on several different things.
Maiysha Kai [00:08:49] You know, I love that. I love that very much. And, you know, I also love like what happens with the family in this book books. I think, you know, as we know, Black families are their own entity. Yes. And they come with their own set of expectations and desires for the success of their children and what that looks like. And you allow that to get a little messy, too.
Rachel Lindsay [00:09:12] Yeah, absolutely. It was very important for me. And, you know, matter of fact, in the book, you see her. This is a given in a way. She has this relationship with her sister, Ella. Well, initially when we were writing the book, there were two sisters, and that gets a little too messy. I have two sisters. Maybe that was just a little too real, but I what things that I struggle with and I’ve never been a little bit vocal about this, but I definitely talk about in my book are the difference in the generation of our parents and where we are now. You know, they would work to provide and to survive and we do things out of joy and what makes us happy and to feel fulfilled. And that’s a struggle that you see Maya go through in this book. And that’s a struggle in Black families that you see. And so I wanted to touch on those themes as well, because that’s very real. Fighting of what you’re supposed to do, what you’ve been told to do your whole life, and that desire to please that versus what you really want to do in the one life you have to live.
Maiysha Kai [00:10:13] Well, I want to talk a little more about what you want to do and how this book and this this other thread of your career, because you have several going on right now, factors into it. When we return in just a moment with more Writing Black and more Rachel Lindsay. All right and we are back with Rachel Lindsay and more Writing Black. We are discussing Rachel’s new book, Real Love, which is a novel, which is her first foray into the genre that I know of. Now, did you write stories as a kid? Was just like, you know, you said this was kind of an idea you had for a while, but was this something you had been fleshing out for a while? Like little sketches, you know, as it were?
Rachel Lindsay [00:10:56] So what’s interesting is I used to not like to read.
Maiysha Kai [00:11:01] We hear that a lot.
Rachel Lindsay [00:11:02] But my sisters were the readers. I was the middle child. I was always playing make believe. I was always imagining things. So I was that child. So I didn’t write it down. I didn’t necessarily read about it. I was always acting it out and living in this fantasy world. That was the kid I was. And then as I got into high school, I just had an English teacher, shout out to Mrs. Merriman, AP English, who just really influenced me. And I just felt inspired. And we would do a lot of creative writing and I loved it. And then I dated this guy who went to the art school. I was a private school. He was an art school across the way. We went to school in downtown Dallas, and I was so inspired by him and his friend group. They literally went to Fame. The school in Fame. You go to the school, kids were singing, they were playing instruments. He was an actor. And so he would write and we would go to poetry clubs. And it it just opened my eyes to a whole nother world. And I just felt so free and more myself than ever during that time period. And it was so different from the path that I was on of like, Nope, I’m going to, you know, school for political science, government, I’m going to go to law school and do these things. It was just so different. And it was also a form of rebellion because my parents were not into the guy that I was dating at all. But I loved that. But it sparked something within me. And then I stopped doing the creative writing. I stopped, you know, like I don’t say sketches of poetry because I never really wrote out a full poem except for my vows. And I, when I started to go down the path of law, I would constantly say that that stifled my creativity. And so I feel that freedom that I felt before, because you’re trained to write like a robot in a specific formula. And I hated that. And so this has reinvigorated that, that spirit in me of how I used to feel in high school in the beginnings of college. And so I never fully, to answer your question, wrote those things down, was more of a feeling that I had and a desire. So it’s been really fun to tap back into that and feel that way again.
Maiysha Kai [00:13:25] Well, very much also parallels your heroin. And, you know, I got to say, as a performer turned writer/editor who is the daughter of an attorney and partnered with an actor, I totally relate it to everything you just said. Like this, I’m here. I’m here with you.
Rachel Lindsay [00:13:44] My parents never put me in plays. They would we would go to the children’s theater and watch the plays, and then I would go and act them out of my living room and use my sister and stuff as props. But they never let me.
Maiysha Kai [00:13:55] Use your sister as a prop.
Rachel Lindsay [00:13:56] Yes. I’ll use my sisters. I was like you’re going to be this person. You going to be this.
Maiysha Kai [00:14:01] You are the tree.
Rachel Lindsay [00:14:03] Yeah.
Maiysha Kai [00:14:06] I love it. I love it, I love it. And, you know, I want to dig into that. We’re going to take a quick commercial break and we’ll be right back with more Writing Black with Rachel Lindsay. All right, Rachel, we are back. You know, you were just you were just cracking me up. We were talking about it brought back so much to me as a former little musical theater kid and those performances in the living room, I know them well. It also made me think while you were talking about how you really you know, in the end, I think this is something that really comes out in the book. In the end, the only thing keeping you from your destiny is you, right? Because, you know, this is exactly I mean, it’s very similar. What you just described is very similar to Maya’s journey in terms of finding this way back to who she was originally. And I think so many of us get obsessed with growing up that we forget that the we forget the magic, but we also forget that that purpose usually reveals itself to us pretty early on. You know who we were meant to be. In that childhood joy there’s a lot of adult fulfillment. You know, you can find, you know, in this book you refer to Maya as having at different intervals. You know, she’s referred to as having a midlife crisis or maybe a quarter life crisis. I like to call it the third light. The yeah, the third. Life reckoning know you’re a third of your life points and you’re like, What’s it all about? Yes. That’s another thing that really fascinates me, though. You know, we were just talking about Black families. And I do think that I would be remiss and I think you’ve talked about this a lot, so I’m sure you’re prepared to talk about it. You, you know, set this Black character in this world where in this very multiracial world, and just like in your own experience being on The Bachelor, just like life, you know, who she ends up with is not necessarily who she starts with or who one might expect or whom one might desire for her to be.
Rachel Lindsay [00:16:11] Yeah.
Maiysha Kai [00:16:13] Why was that a strategic choice for you in terms of the way that you wrote this book? Or was it just, Hey, this is how I want to write? I won’t just be like focus on the humanity of all of this situation. I mean, obviously Maya’s race is a factor and it does come in, but it’s not a traditional like Black narrative in that way. You know what I mean?
Rachel Lindsay [00:16:32] Yeah, so the latter of what you were saying, I do think for me it was about the humanity, but also mirroring how my life is. You know, yet. Yes, I’m a Black woman. Yes. I was raised by two Black parents. And you see that in the book. You see my a very much soul attached to her Blackness. You see where she is a certain challenges in the book because she is a Black woman. But at the same time, I wanted to really create a diverse friend group, which you see I want. And I someone asked me this and and I guess I thought about it subconsciously, but not necessarily in writing the book. Whether or not because the the friend Delilah who goes on the show, she’s a Latino woman. And it was and you have yet to see a Latina bachelorette. So she was the first and it was someone said, well, did you want to explore some of the same issues that you explored going on reality TV and had to come to grips with as a first that you want Delilah to experience that? And I thought no, because I felt like the the focus of the book is Maya. Yes. And her journey as a Black woman in this multiracial world, in this diverse world, in this certain upbringing that she had coming up. And I wanted I didn’t want it to get too muddy, so I didn’t do that. But yeah, it was very important for me or I just wanted to have a diverse world because, again, they’re Easter eggs of me, of my life in Black. But yeah, I just thought that that was that was important.
Maiysha Kai [00:18:07] Thinking about this while you were talking about Delilah, I thought to myself also, would that have brought you into a realm that maybe wasn’t totally your story to tell? Like, culturally, like in terms of those cultural nuances that maybe would have been foreign to you? It’s not to say we can’t write about other people’s cultures, but I think, like, there’s a world of difference in terms of, you know, coming from a more marginalized group and being able to talk about the mainstream that most of us in one way or another, you know, figure out how to at least, you know, figure out how to navigate, you know what I mean? Whether that means assimilating in certain ways or code switching or however that manifests, you know, or deciding not to code switch, you know, whatever that looks like for you and the other way around. And I think, you know, what strikes me here, too, is that, you know, what we always have to come back to is that there is no one Black experience. Right? Because as a whole, we have commonalities and we have community and we have, you know, points of bonding. And that’s what’s so beautiful about it.
Rachel Lindsay [00:19:07] Yes.
Maiysha Kai [00:19:08] You know, it’s one of the blessings of being marginalized, if you will. But it’s also there is there are as many Black experience as there are Black people. So that is also, I think, a refreshing thing about this book. It’s also a refreshing thing I think, about you and the way you’ve kind of chosen to, you know, present the way your own fairy tale of, we’ll call it, however you know, where we want to say has spun out. So, yeah, I’m intrigued by that. I also want, you know, I want to talk about the craft of writing. We’re going to do that in just a second, you know, because we do need to take a quick break, But we’ll be back with Rachel Lindsay and more Writing Black.
Maiysha Kai [00:19:44] All right. We are back with Rachel Lindsay and more writing Black and the book Real Love. You are into romance fiction. You know, you can call it a. I cozied up with it in bed. It’s still pretty cool in Chicago, and I thoroughly enjoy that. So, you know, I say, however you get into a get into it, it is an easy and fun read, but a thoughtful one as well. And those things don’t always all go together. But I want to talk about the craft of this. I mean, you know, you were saying that, you know, you didn’t grow up loving to read. You did grow up making up stories. This is not your first book. So you were familiar obviously, with like the publishing process, the editing process. But worldbuilding, no matter how familiar the world is, is a totally different muscle. I mean, I know it’s one that actually I’ll be perfectly transparent. As a longtime writer, it worldbuilding intimidates me seriously. You know, it’s one of the things that fascinates me so much about the people I get to interview here. It might even be a little bit why I created this podcast, because I was like, I’m fascinated by craft and I would love to know how long this took, how you envision this world which is set in Miami. Yeah, let’s talk about that for a second.
Rachel Lindsay [00:21:00] Yeah. So I am a person who likes to be upfront and honest and not pretend like I can do absolutely everything myself. And that is this book.
Maiysha Kai [00:21:10] You don’t have Superwoman complex.
Rachel Lindsay [00:21:11] I not that well maybe to a Well, I had the best help on this book with Alexa Martin who is an incredible author. Well, I knew very quickly. I knew I had the idea. I knew I had the vision, but I knew I needed help. And as you beautifully laid out, this is not my world. I had never had to build a story in this way to develop characters in this way, even if I had this idea. And so very, very early on, I was able to interview other authors. It was very important for me to have a Black woman as the author who could understand me, has her own experiences that she might put into this book as well. And I also just wanted to relate and connect to her. And so I interviewed a few, and Alexa was someone that I met and we just immediately clicked. We have a love for the same things that she comes from the sports world. Her husband was an athlete and then just also, you know, being a Black woman. So I worked like right with Alexa on this. And we I told her my idea to see if she was even into it, if she loved it. She got it immediately, had some of her own ideas. And from then she kind of helped me out of like, okay, who are the characters that you want? Who are the supporting characters that you want? Where do you want this to set? What type of jobs? I mean, questions. I you know, you think about, but you don’t really think about as you talk about building, what do you want her job to be? It changed so much. Just like I told you, the sisters there were there.
Maiysha Kai [00:22:51] Were two.
Rachel Lindsay [00:22:52] Really. We got it down to one. There were more friends in this book. It got a little too messy and convoluted, so we changed that as well. The setting where she came from and her relationship with her sisters and her family actually changed. There was it was it was a lot of back and forth talking to one another, flushing that out, pushing each other. The storyline the book wasn’t called Real Love at first, even thinking of how much we wanted to incorporate the reality TV show to where it was as much of a character and more into the background. Initially, the book was more of a character. It was more of a Sliding Doors book and we had to not make it that and flush it out a little bit more to make it something different, to make it Real Love, to make it stand out on its own. There were certain themes that I wanted to express. There were certain ways that I wanted the book to go. And so your points of view, we talked about at the beginning a romance novel, women’s fiction is supposed to go a particular way, and that was a bit of.
Maiysha Kai [00:23:55] There’s a formula. Yeah.
Rachel Lindsay [00:23:57] I didn’t realize the formula. I just more had the idea and where I wanted it to go.
Maiysha Kai [00:24:01] You know, shout out to Alexa, shout out to Black women in general. And I love you know, listen, I love on this podcast, when we have a writer who’s worked with another writer to produce something I love, when they shout them out, I think, you know, those those big assists, whether they be ghostwriters, whoever they are, you know, however they function, you know, collaborators, etc., etc., you know, they really are the backbone and they often are unsung. So it’s very exciting to me that you’re so eager to shout her out.
Rachel Lindsay [00:24:28] Oh, yeah.
Maiysha Kai [00:24:30] And, you know, I also think I love the idea of learning a formula so that you can break it because, you know, real love doesn’t totally, you know, as we talked about earlier, it doesn’t totally fit. Is that totally formulaic in that way And I. Personally, I found that a good thing. I really like that. And I just wanna clarify, when you say a Sliding Doors novel, I’m assuming you’re referring to the film.
Rachel Lindsay [00:24:51] Yeah.
Maiysha Kai [00:24:51] With Gwyneth Paltrow, where it really is a what if, like, literally like what if I made it in into the train on time? Also fascinating. And we’re going to talk more about that when we come back with more Writing Black. All right. We are back with more Writing Black and Rachel Lindsay talking about her new novel, her first, Real Love. Do you think there are more novels in your future now that you’ve done this? I know you had help, but based on what you’ve learned, any more novels ahead of you?
Rachel Lindsay [00:25:23] I really hope so. I would say that that’s the goal. The idea just has to come and it has to be something that’s original. You know, I don’t want to read a book and say, “Oh, all my gosh, I just fell in love with this book.” And then that gets stuck in your head in that idea. I just I hope that there is because I had so much fun during this process and it’s so incredible and freeing and just the escapism that is involved in writing and fiction, the places that you can go. It’s limitless. And I didn’t even feel that initially when I had the idea didn’t happen until the whole process started. So I really, really hope so. I’d be disappointed with myself if it does.
Maiysha Kai [00:26:06] Yeah, I mean, I will admit when you were sitting there talking about Delilah, I was like, That sounds like a whole spinoff of this novel. Like, that’s just like. And then, you know, because everybody wants to know how the sausage was made back there at The Bachelorette. Let me tell you. We’re all sitting there like, what happened? What happened? Like, even that you have a scene again, you know, we have stages, but I think there’s I think we could tell this scene without spoiling it, you know, because you have this and this is a really great device that you and Alexa developed here. The story within a story. We love that. We love that that that mechanism. And of course, the story within the story here is that Real Love, which, you know, to our listeners is both the name, the title of the book and the name of the fictional reality show that Maya says no to. But we do get glimpses of this, this theatrical show, and there’s like a really, really ridiculous scene where all where The Bachelorette in question, the star and her suitors are on a farm and mayhem ensues. Really messy farm like mayhem ensues.
Rachel Lindsay [00:27:12] Yes.
Rachel Lindsay [00:27:12] I was kind of tickled by the whole thing. I just thought it was so funny. I was like, you know, this is exactly the kind of stuff that we look for, you know, those of us. Listen, I have a family of Black women who literally there’s like a whole thread in our family where, you know, they go back and forth about The Bachelorette each season and they were thrilled when you were on. So it was like a very big deal in my family. So I was tickled by that. But I am also, you know, talk about the idea of you doing more fiction is I think this this idea of a, the heroine of a romance reality series, going on to write romance novels is kind of amazing. It’s kind of ingenious, you know?
Rachel Lindsay [00:27:58] I’d like to that I’m that much of a genius.
Maiysha Kai [00:28:01] It’s marketing genius, I guess. It’s really good.
Rachel Lindsay [00:28:04] I really just. It was such an untold story in my head that I lay out all the time, more so to humble myself more than anything else. I think that to always remember, because all of this happened to me so quickly and in my mind, that means I can lose it just as quickly. And so, yeah, I always want to check myself and say to be grateful of everything that’s happening and these opportunities and not forget that girl who was sitting in her office that day, probably not working, looking out the window, waiting for somebody to knock on the door until she heard that knock. And I just always remember that. And I often say to myself, okay, it’s Thursday. It’s this time of day. What would I have been doing if I had said no? I do that all the time, and that humbles me to be grateful of of currently what’s happening. So I just because that’s always been in my head, I really wanted to see that play out.
Maiysha Kai [00:29:02] I think that so that humility is refreshing. We’re going to take one more break and we’ll be back with Rachel Lindsay in just a moment. All right. We are back with more writing Black and Rachel Lindsay. You know, Rachel, as you said, there’s Easter eggs with you all over real love. And even though it’s fiction, obviously you are not the only, you know, I assume, real life person who gets referred to here. Were you concerned about, like your family, your husband, your friends, like, you know, how they’re being portrayed?
Rachel Lindsay [00:29:44] Good question. No, I was more concerned with that when I wrote the book of essays because it was real and I changed names. And those were real people, real events that were happening. And I and that was all that was also tricky because I didn’t want to tell somebody else’s story. I wanted to tell my story. So it was a fine line to walk to make sure I wasn’t telling too much of their business. I was trying to be respectful, not to tell all I was trying to blast anyone. I just wanted to tell my story. Yeah. So in the fiction version, I can tap into some of those things that I didn’t want to tell in the real book, and I can play them out. So even. Von, a.k.a. Ralph in the book, who’s Maya’s boyfriend, is a combination of exes for me.
Maiysha Kai [00:30:31] I love a hybrid situation, I love it, a composite character.
Rachel Lindsay [00:30:35] And maybe one ex more than another. You know who you are.
Maiysha Kai [00:30:39] You know who you are. Yes.
Rachel Lindsay [00:30:40] You are. I thought that was important. I got to flush some some of the messiness out that I couldn’t talk about in really in the book. I mean, in my book of essays. Yeah. My family, I’ve been very open about, you know, coming from this picture perfect Cosby like family and this desire to please my father and to follow in his footsteps. And that’s not necessarily how it is with Maya, with the father daughter relationship. But there is a relationship like that in the book and the fear of disappointment. And and then you realize, you know, what are you doing this for? Because they ain’t always as perfect as we think they are either. And so I that’s there’s there’s truth in that as well. There’s certain things that I’ve learned about my family as an adult that I didn’t put in the book, either book that I’m like, man, if you had told me that when I was younger, do you know how much that could have helped me in certain things that I was going through? That’s a theme in the book. So, yeah, I’m not I’m not worried in the fiction book because here’s the beauty of it. It’s fiction.
Maiysha Kai [00:31:45] That’s right.
Rachel Lindsay [00:31:50] That’s on you.
Maiysha Kai [00:31:51] And that part, that part right there, you know, the the novelist Anne Lamott, I’m going to be paraphrasing, but she she says sometimes she says, you know, if you would have liked me to write about you better, you should behave better. I, I mean, that’s one way of doing it. But, you know, once we get into fiction, we can say whatever we like. And, you know, if it does not apply to you, then you needn’t respond. But, you know, I’m always interested to, you know, as writers, you know, I know this can happen to me in any form of writing that I’m doing. I mean, sometimes I’m writing an article and I feel like this, you know, if I get that point just the way that I like it.
Rachel Lindsay [00:32:26] Yeah.
Maiysha Kai [00:32:27] Was it cathartic? Did it feel cathartic, this book, this process? I can I can imagine that you’re I hope that your book of essays was cathartic for you, but was this process equally as cathartic?
Rachel Lindsay [00:32:39] Absolutely. And in different ways. The book of essay was because I was taking control of my own story for the first time ever. And when you go on television, a reality TV show, you give up that freedom. And so the media perceives you. And in a certain way, the fan base does, social media does. And I still.
Maiysha Kai [00:32:56] You are edited a certain way. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Rachel Lindsay [00:33:00] Well, the that book was cathartic in the sense that I got to tell my story my way and no one could tell me anything else about it. This was cathartic in a different way because it scratched an itch that I had of that, always wondering of the What if we all do it? Which is why I think so many people will enjoy this book and maybe it’ll inspire someone to write the what if of their own story. I always wonder because I was so wrapped up in that life of what it would have looked like if I played it out. And so to be able to explore it, even in a fictional way, was very liberating for me because I did it and I saw the story to the end. I don’t know If that’s what would have happened or not. But it is a version of a what if. And so that was really beautiful for me. And it can keep going. You know, the book gives a certain way. I could keep that book going.
Maiysha Kai [00:33:54] Listen.
Rachel Lindsay [00:33:55] A whole another story of it about it.
Maiysha Kai [00:33:57] And, you know, and I hope that people respond to this book and that you that the demand is there for you to write that book because it really is a good time. And, you know, on that note, you know, you talked about a couple of things here in terms of, you know, a, you know, the the that we all kind of do this and we, you know, and inspiring others to kind of imagine and maybe even put to the page. I mean, you inspired me. So, you know, there’s that but who did and who do you who do you hope reads this book? I mean, you know, who do you see as the ideal audience for real? Those.
Rachel Lindsay [00:34:29] Oh, that’s so good. I would say this book is it can be for anyone because it’s about being at a crossroads, but it’s mainly for women. And I would definitely say for women in their twenties and women in their thirties, it could really be any age, but I see it as twenties and thirties just because I feel like that’s that point in life where, you know, you’re making those, you start to see things in a different way.
Excerpt from Real Love [00:34:54] This book is dedicated to all of those held captive to their life plans. Free yourself. All of those who are wondering what is on the other side of the rainbow, go look for yourself. All of those who are ready to take flight but are too afraid to try, soar.
Rachel Lindsay [00:35:19] Okay. I won’t even take that. I am fascinated right now with adulthood and the things that we question about life and adulthood with our parents never talked to us about. There’s this great movie called Somebody I Used to Know that just came out.
Maiysha Kai [00:35:37] I just watched this. Yes. Oh, yes. It’s on Prime, right, with Jay Ellis and Alison Brie. Yes.
Rachel Lindsay [00:35:46] I felt like I could I could write an essay on the book because it kind of explores or whatever. But you’re questioning things in adulthood of like, I built my entire life around something. And what if that is not what I was supposed to do? And the song Landslide deals with that. There’s just so much that as I get older, I think about that. There’s a great show Fleishman is in Trouble that talks about that as well. And so now I’m getting lost.
Maiysha Kai [00:36:15] Awesome show. Listen, we can sit here and talk pop culture every day, all day, because I remember. Listen, Fleishman is in Trouble, if you guys haven’t seen it, this is an interesting conversation for two Black women to be having because we are not featured in that narrative a lot. But what it was. Wow. You know, deviating. You know, we’re about we’re talking about writing, though, and it’s great writing. And it really, I think for women of a certain age, you know, who are who are really looking at that adulthood question, I finished that show and I was sobbing and my my partner’s like, he’s like, what is going on? Like, what is happening? Because it was not happening for him. He had like, fallen asleep. And I’m like, it’s just so true.
Rachel Lindsay [00:37:00] So that is the who that I want to be the reader of this story because that person who is wondering, who is questioning, who doesn’t feel fulfilled, who is saying, I lived this life this way, but I feel like there’s something more out there. This book is for you. This book is for someone who has has trouble with something that you said earlier in the podcast about how, you know, you’re your own worst enemy and you’re the one holding yourself back from what it is that you really want to do. That person who’s scared to take that leap of faith who’s almost there, they just need that push. That’s who this book is for. Whether it’s a career choice, whether it’s a love choice, whether it’s confronting family. I know that I was able to come to all of that one, the therapy, but also just finally saying yes and and choosing to live the life that I want to live and not the life that somebody else has told me I’m supposed to live.
Maiysha Kai [00:38:02] So it sounds like you said yes and no.
Rachel Lindsay [00:38:06] Yes and no.
Maiysha Kai [00:38:07] The boundaries, man. Those are important.
Rachel Lindsay [00:38:08] And I’m talking about parents and they know this, you would think that they they picked life for me. “Oh, I always knew that this is what you were going to be.”
Maiysha Kai [00:38:15] So proud. I know. I know.
Rachel Lindsay [00:38:17] Okay.
Maiysha Kai [00:38:19] I love it. I love it. I love it. I think we have the same parents, too. But, you know, I mean, you know, this is a question we ask everybody who comes on the podcast, and we just talked about a few narratives that really inspired you. I’m not going to assume that you love reading any more than you used to, but are there some specific authors or even like shows, you know, things that you’re loving now like that, like the stories that are being told that you really respond to?
Rachel Lindsay [00:38:45] Well, I named to Somebody I Used to Know the movie of Fleishman is in Trouble. I’m just very into questions about life and just adulthood and things thinking they’re supposed to go away and they doll a fascinated by it. You know, Fleishman is in Trouble, she says something she makes, which is very depressing, she says a line of “You’re never going to be younger than you are right now.”
Maiysha Kai [00:39:06] Right now. That might be when I started sobbing.
Rachel Lindsay [00:39:11] That’s so true. But I just, you know, there’s I love escapism and there’s just so I’m fascinated with shows that deal with that. I’m just fascinated about questioning life. It’s just so interesting, sad but interesting at the same time, when you and I talked on Higher Learning, we talked about Seven Days in June and I was like I have that book.
Maiysha Kai [00:39:35] Did you like it?
Rachel Lindsay [00:39:37] I’m not done.
Maiysha Kai [00:39:38] It’s another what if story. Shout out Tia Williams.
Rachel Lindsay [00:39:43] It’s so good and I know so many people who are reading it or have read it. So that’s like at the top of my list. That’s a book, when I do read, I pick it up. I put it down. I just had to say something. I love the Locke sisters. I was just telling my assistant about it. I have it cause I pulled it out. I was like, could find the book Bluebird.
Maiysha Kai [00:40:04] Okay.
Rachel Lindsay [00:40:06] I just. I’d love, you know, From Scratch. And then I’ve just done such a deep dive on them. And I realized that I was reading, you know, like, Attica Locke book. I sometimes don’t pay attention to who’s writing it. I’m just reading the story.
Maiysha Kai [00:40:18] So, yeah.
Rachel Lindsay [00:40:19] Which is a bad habit, But yeah, I’m loving them as well.
Maiysha Kai [00:40:24] Listen, I think From Scratch is one of the unsung when we’re talking about series that we love. So whether people engage with the written word, which listen, written word is happening on screen too, so it’s all valid. From Scratch was one of the best, you know, kind of series, limited series I thought of the past year and yeah, such beautiful work for the Locke sisters, bringing that very real life. Such a poignant love story to the screen and to obviously Zoe Saldana as well. But yeah, you know, you and I, I feel like you and I could really like totally Ke on like pretty much everything always. So I you know, I look forward to the very next time. But you know, I just really want people right now to pick up a copy of Real Love, get into It with Rachel Lindsay. You’ve seen her on your screens. Maybe you’ve seen her on Extra. If you’re not listening to podcasts, you should. Higher learning is big fun, but also pick up this book if you want a little escape because it’s a good time and you will undoubtedly see yourself in because we’ve all been there. But Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This was so fun. Yeah.
Rachel Lindsay [00:41:26] I really enjoyed this. I cannot say this is such a full conversation. And you’re right, we could. KeKe,.
Maiysha Kai [00:41:33] I love it.
Rachel Lindsay [00:41:34] If I come to Chicago, I will let you know.
Maiysha Kai [00:41:37] Please come through.
Rachel Lindsay [00:41:40] Thank you so much for having me.
Maiysha Kai [00:41:41] All right, guys, that’s it for Writing Black this week. And thank you, Rachel Lindsay.
[00:41:47] Witty, honest, entertaining, Introducing Dear Culture with Panama Jackson on theGrio Black Podcast Network. Listen today on the Grill mobile app for all the Black culture debate you don’t want to miss also available wherever great podcasts are heard.
Maiysha Kai [00:42:04] How much fun was that chat? You know, listen, I could talk to Rachel all day, but it’s time for the part of our show that I also love, which is Mai favorites. This is where I recommend some of my favorite books. And this week I’m also going to recommend one that came up in this podcast. You know, it’s so unfortunately still too rare for Black women to see themselves as the heroine in romance novels for that action and that attraction to be centered around us, which is why I love this book by Tia Williams, Seven Days in June. I believe this came out in 2020, maybe even 2019. But it’s it’s a fantastic book. For me it was a quarantine read. I really again settle down with this book and it was so good and it’s really multi-dimensional. It explores not just attraction and romance and sexuality and all those good and spicy things. It also explores how we process trauma, how we deal with family and loss and forming new bonds. Parenthood is a factor in this, so I highly recommend this read. I think you’ll see yourself in it in no matter who you are. Tia Williams is a fantastic storyteller. She’s been at this a long time and she’s also a delightful human being. So I highly recommend Seven Days in June. That’s Mai Favorite for this week. And we will see you next week with another episode of Writing Black. Thanks so much for joining us for this week’s episode of Writing Black. As always, you can find us on theGrio app or wherever you find your podcasts.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:44:02] I’m political scientist, author and professor Dr. Christina Greer, and I’m host of The Blackest Questions. On the Grill’s Black Podcast Network. This person invented ranch dressing around 1950. Who are they?
Marc Lamont Hill [00:44:16] I have no idea.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:44:17] This all began as an exclusive Black history trivia party at my home in Harlem with family and friends. And they got so popular it seemed only right to share the fun with our Grio listeners. Each week we invite a familiar face on the podcast to play. What was the name of the person who was an enslaved chief cook for George Washington and later ran away to freedom? In 1868, this university was the first in the country to open a medical school that welcomed medical students of all races, genders and social classes. What university was it? .
Roy Wood Jr. [00:44:50] This is why I like doing stuff with you, because I leave educated. I was not taught this in Alabama Public Schools.
Maiysha Kai [00:44:56] Question three Are you ready?
Eboni K. Williams [00:44:58] Yes. I want to redeem myself.
Amanda Seales [00:45:00] How do we go from Kwanzaa to like these obscure?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:05] Diaspora, Darling.
Amanda Seales [00:45:07] Thi is like the New York Times crossword from Monday to Saturday.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:10] Right or wrong. All we care about is the journey and having some fun while we do it.
Kalen Allen [00:45:15] I’m excited. And also a little nervous.
Maiysha Kai [00:45:17] Oh, listen. No need to be nervous. And as I tell all of my guests, this is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves. Because Black history is American history. So we still have some fun. Listen, some people get zero out of five. Some people get five out of five. It doesn’t matter. We’re just going to be on a little intellectual journey together.
Eboni K. Williams [00:45:33] Latoya Cantrell.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:36] That’s right. Mayor Latoya Cantrell.
Michael W. Twitty [00:45:38] Hercules Posey.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:39] Mm hmm. Born in 1754, and he was a member of the Mount Vernon slave community. Widely admired for his culinary skills.
Kalen Allen [00:45:46] I’m going to guess AfroPunk.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:49] Close. It’s AfroNation. According to my research, it’s Samuel Wilson a.k.a. Falcon.
Jason Johnson [00:45:58] Wrong. Wrong, I am disputing this.
Latosha Brown [00:46:02] Very, very, very 99.9999 sure that it is Representative John Lewis, who is also from the state of Alabama. That you know, Christina, we got some good this come out of Alabama.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:14] There is something in the water in Alabama. And you are absolutely correct.
Diallo Riddle [00:46:17] The harder they come.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:19] Close.
Diallo Riddle [00:46:20] Oh, wait. The Harder They Fall?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:22] That’s right. I’m one of those people that just changes one word.
Roy Wood Jr. [00:46:27] I just don’t know nothing today. I’m going to pour myself a little water while you tell me the answer.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:31] The answer is Seneca Village, which began in 1825 with the purchase of land by a trustee of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
Roy Wood Jr. [00:46:38] You know why games like this make me nervous? I don’t know if I know enough Black. Do I know enough? How Black am I? Oh, my Lord, they they don’t. We going to find out in public.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:46] So give us a follow. Subscribe and join us on the Blackest Questions.