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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Author Offers Memories of the Old Baltimore Through New Novel

The Baltimore streets that Odessa Rose recalls when she grew up in the seventies were packed with joy-filled kids who rode bikes and played games like dodge ball and jacks. She hardly recalls crime being intertwined in her childhood memories. When the streetlights turned on when daylight faded, it was time to find the front step of your home.

 “Those were the days,” Rose said, reflecting on Baltimore from yesteryear.

When Rose was nine years old, she began penning short stories. She read them to her friends during lunch at Arlington Elementary on Rogers Ave. in northwest Baltimore.

“They thought they were great. One of my English teachers also encouraged me. And when she left the school to devote time to writing children’s books, I became even more inspired to become a writer,” Rose stated.

Adelsia Brown is Rose’s mother. The avid reader fostered a love of books in Rose and her sisters. They spent hours in the bookstores at Waldenbooks and Crown Bookstore in Security Square and Westview Malls.

While Rose sat on her family’s front porch reading one of her mother’s Reader’s Digest magazines, she informed Brown about her future literary plans, in an era when parents shuffled their children off to church on Sunday mornings.

“I don’t remember what story I was reading, but I was so intrigued by it that I turned to my mother and said, ‘Mama, I want to be a writer.’ And she said, ‘Well, write, baby.’”

Rose, who grew up in the Pimlico area, kept her word. She earned her B.A. in English from Coppin State University, and her M.A. in Literature from the University of Maryland at College Park. The writer’s bestselling, debut novel called ‘Water In A Broken Glass” was recorded for the Maryland School for the Blind. Additionally, Rose’s work was adapted into an award-winning feature film.

Johnston Square, a neighborhood where Odessa Rose’s husband grew up is mentioned in her book. Photo credit: Odessa Rose

The wordsmith’s second novel, entitled “In the Mirror” received the African American Expo Award for Fiction. Rose is also a Baltimore City resident who is a member of the Black Writers Guild of Maryland.

Michael Rose, who is Odessa’s husband, commented about his wife’s inclusive literary journey.

“Odessa has taken on responsibilities and helped other writers start their process of creating their works and ideas. She works to bring about a community of writers that bring more voices to Baltimore publishing and writing,” Michael said.

Odessa continues to take new literary leaps of her own, too. Her latest novel, “Kizmic’s Journey” was officially released on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. She self-published her third novel about a young, tough, fun-loving tomboy who does not want to grow up, because she sees growing up as the end of her life.

“I was a tomboy, but Kizmic is not based on me. She has more spunk than I did at that age. She is not based on anyone from my childhood,” Odessa said. “I wrote “Kizmic’s Journey” for a number of reasons. The first was to tell a story about a young girl who was not eager to develop breasts; was not waiting anxiously for her menstrual cycle to begin; and didn’t want to have a crush on a boy. Most of the books I read about the transition from childhood to adolescence always featured girls who couldn’t wait to become a teenager, who couldn’t wait for their bodies to change and have their first kiss with a boy. As a child, I didn’t think about those things.”

Additionally, Odessa sought to write a classic coming-of-age tale while capturing a time in Baltimore City that does not get portrayed.  

“The time I’m speaking of took place in the black community during the ’70s when families and friends looked out for one another. When children could play outside without fear,” Odessa said.

The author of “Kizmic’s Journey” also fused the mission of older people remembering what it was like to be a child. Plus, Odessa published the book so that adults could look back and remember all of the fun and freedom they had as kids. She realizes that sharing her story in the world is important. It can enable little Black girls who need stories like her latest book to show them in a positive light; to give them voice; and to let them see themselves in a hopeful light.

“I hope readers will remember what it was like to be a child, and not be so hard on the young people of today, and to do something to help children today have fun and enjoy life,” Odessa said.

Visit https://coolwaterpublishinghousellc.com for information about “Kizmic’s Journey.”

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