“To make something intangible tangible is worth it all,” says Eddie S. Pierce Jr., author and founder of Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC as he speaks to the challenges he faces as a Christian HIV positive SGL (same gender loving) writer and publisher male of color.
Upon finding out about his diagnosis, Eddie was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was through this time of despair when he found a safe haven through his writing. It allowed him to explore his emotions, reflect on the past, and look to the future. This sense of serenity and safety lit a fire inside of the future publisher motivating him to further his education and continue to “add to the voices of the HIV/AIDS infected.” After learning his first work will be “near impossible,” he says, to publish in a traditional manner, he grew inspired to start Rainbow Room Publishing Company to answer to his calling and pursue something greater than him.
SOULE had the opportunity of speaking with Mr. Pierce. He lets us in on the risks he took to follow his dreams and pursue self-publishing his first “autobiographical fiction” work. Along with managing his publishing company, he promotes healing for the HIV positive and LGBTQ communities.
Who or what inspired you to get into the publishing industry and ultimately, creating Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC?
The desire to publish myself and eventually others was born out of pure necessity. I quickly learned that it would be near impossible to get my first work of “autobiographical fiction” Love: Something Infinite published in the traditional manner. I believe God lead me to pursue self-publishing the work. That process confirmed for me that I was in fact “a publisher” in that I oversaw and paid to produce the work.
Where were you when you realized you wanted to leave the “9-5pm” and pursue Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC full-time? How has this decision changed your life?
One day I was in my home just exhausted. I audibly groaned or shouted “THIS IS IT! I WILL NOT WORK THIS HARD FOR ANYONE ELSE EVER AGAIN!” It was a very spiritual experience in that I KNEW God and the Universe heard my intentions. The decision completely changed my life. I went from exhaustion, anger, and depression to what I often describe as “pure black boy joy.”
Where do you see Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC in 5 years? What impact do you hope that it has on the LGBTQ Community as well as those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS?
Over the course of the next five years Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC will produce more of my own works as well as publish that of others. I am currently drafting and promoting works which discuss the events surrounding our flawed criminal justice system, the Marriage Equality debate, and sexism in Corporate America. Moreover a propagation of our stories will stimulate discussion on the current global human condition by presenting potential futures, fictional works that illustrate out of the box thinking, and art which can promote prescriptions for present day issues. A subsidiary company is also being established to provide a vehicle for non-literary arts for the same purpose of facilitating exposure for artists as well as promoting their “prescriptions for hope and change.”
Why is it important that you shed light and educate people on the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS community?
The long and short of it for me is that the voices representing our demographic (being an HIV infected SGL male of color myself) are not loud enough. This is about equal and accurate representation of our community. Encouraging our collective and each individual to accept and define themselves, to propagate positive self-images and take our equal place in the greater whole of humanity as equals in every regard.
What is it like to be an LGBTQ writer/publisher of color? What are some of the challenges you face?
I recently read a quote which states “To write is to spill out your blood on the page.” To say that is an adapt description is a gross understatement of truth. Wearing both hats, author and publisher is admittedly no small feat, but nothing compares to holding the physical product in your hands at the end of the process. To make something intangible tangible is worth it all.
I realize that as Rainbow Room Publishing, LLC continues to grow and interacts with a more diverse audience and I seek professional connections the challenges and opportunities to meet them are inevitable. Being an African American SGL male only increases the likelihood.
Are there any authors or books that helped you through tough times, understand or make sense of a situation you were in?
Richard Wright’s Black Boy, James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain, E. Lynn Harris’s Invisible Life Series and James Earl Hardy’s B-Boy Blues Series. Each author were essential to me growing to be the Black, Same Gender Loving, Christian, Brother of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Author and Publisher I am today. These works confirmed and help me to define my place in this world. They were my literary teachers in that they taught me the noble art of storytelling. The author’s lives confirmation of my own purpose and passion.
What book is a must-read and why?
Aside from my own? I’m joking. “It’s not important what you read. It’s important that you read” I encourage engaging in “stories” that move the “listener” emotionally, stimulate the intellect, promote health and growth, inspire dreams and call one to action for the betterment of self, community, and humanity as a whole. Start with what captures your interest but be open-minded. You’d be amazed how a love of Bible stories and Marvel X-Men Comics can grow into an interest in modern day Alaskan aboriginal culture for example or how often you will find allusions to great literature woven into so many aspects of pop culture.
What are some words of advice you can give to an LGBTQ individual who may be struggling with their sexuality and acceptance of being who they are?
Fall in love with yourself. Find a way to get alone, be still and just learn to sit with and enjoy yourself. Figure out who you are and want to be absent all the noise of other opinions, expectations, condemnations and even their praise. This ongoing process for me involves a relationship with Christ as well as employing my God given gift of writing. The two facilitate introspection, self-examination, encourage discipline and lead to self-acceptance. A healthy love of self, in turn, leads to a genuine love and compassion towards to my community in the local and global senses. I can’t make a generic prescription for self-healing as much as I’d like to but I can illustrate an effective, tailored, personal process through my writing and my life. I just hope these examples as well as this answer help to promote healing if even for only one person at a time.