Monthly Unleash Team Member Highlight
Sascha Ealey obtained a bachelor's degree in English at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. One of her dreams is to use her life experiences to help young women feel understood in a world where society wants them to sweep things under the rug. Her first book, Dry Bones, was released in April 2022 by Fulton Books, and she is currently working on her second book as well as a series of short stories. Sascha has been a part of the Unleash team since the spring of 2022.
Q: Sascha, what inspires you to write?
A: My children, especially my daughter. One day my daughter will read my stories and have the tools to avoid the same struggles and traps that I fell in. I write so she could never lose sight of her worth and won't try to go down hollow streets searching for things that are unattainable. What also inspires me is being able to build a community around me of like-minded individuals. Most importantly, I write for that shy little girl that I used to be who didn't have a voice. My story matters, the journey connected to it is necessary, and it's going to help heal.
Q: What is your favorite book/story?
A: As a little girl, the first influential author to inspire me was Maya Angelou. She was raw, and real, and her stories/poems read in a matter-of-fact way. Growing up, through her writing she reminded me that I decide that I'm worthy and that nobody can do it for me. She taught me that I don't have to be a fashion model to embrace my beauty.
As an adult, Iyanla Vanzant became my Maya Angelou. She never sugar-coated anything and is very influential. My favorite book of hers is Peace from Broken Pieces which I used as a blueprint for writing my memoir. I took what I learned about family pathology and incorporated that information into my own personal story. Her vulnerability made me feel like it was okay for me to be vulnerable.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I have been writing since the age of 7. All I've ever wanted to be was a storyteller. Being a timid girl growing up, writing was an outlet for me to express myself. The blank pages of my journals were my best friend as I poured my secrets, insecurities, and doubts onto them. As life was happening, I would record important events and feelings in my notebooks which led me to publish my memoir Dry Bones in February of 2022.
Q: What are your writing goals this year?
A: I am currently working on autofiction about narcissism, a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I am also working on an outline for an online course to teach and encourage people to write their own memoirs. I also plan to start my third book (a novelette).
The Calm Before the Storm
A sample of Sascha Ealey's writing
After so much summer heat, the heavens broke to release a torrent of rain. The raindrops came, steady and soft, falling from a sky of white velvet. Each drop was as large as a cartoon tear, falling like gravity had been exaggerated. The rain created a beat upon the blacktop sidewalk, a living fabric; something I can now reach my hand through and let my fingers play in.
In late summer, the earth readies for the rains, for sweet drops to quench the soil. It is then that the pitter-patter returns to the woodlands, simple water to bring nature's magic. Water washes over my skin so strongly that it feels as if I am in the flow of a river rather than a rain shower, one that lets me know that it is here to stay for a while. And so, the only thing to do is to keep walking, to accept it as easily as the air I am breathing, to see it run over the earth beneath my soft soles Puddles grew as if the land of Narnia had sent them to fetch us. And so the rain invites a street of colorful umbrellas to blossom. The pathways strengthen from a dusty brown to deep mahogany, reviving a healthy glow I've longed to see a return. The rain brings richness to each hue, the browns deepen in a way that soothes my heart and brings steadiness to my soul. Summer foliage has its time, the green canopy gives shelter when it's needed. This beauty is also, the heaven-given promise of seasonal changes.
The thunderstorm asks the eternal question: did any have gratitude for the calm? The thunderstorm was like a molten silver sky, quenching the earth cocooned in black. How else can the flashes of light appear so bright in the twilight of a thunderstorm? It came as an emotional rollercoaster when twinned with the earthbound lighting as if it were starlight pulsing through the graphite sky, lightning came in great networking forks. Every person able to run picked up their pace holding futile hands skyward to fend off the worst and the world was cast into more somber tones.
I wonder though, what if the sun broke through? What if each drop sparkled with light? What then? Would the warmth seep through and bring a new reality? Would I shake off this rain as easily as a cat after a storm?