Eric Jerome Dickey
(1961 - 2021)
There is power in the world that surrounds you.
We talk about the significance of our thoughts and how they become our reality; The same goes for the energy we surround ourselves in. This month, we highlight New York Times best-selling African American Author, Eric Jerome Dickey. Unbeknownst to him, his growing engineering career path would change swiftly and the community he spent time with would be the light igniting his new purpose.
EJD was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Upon graduating from the Univ. of Memphis, he moved to Los Angeles, California to begin working and studying Engineering. While living and working in Los Angeles, many of his social circles consisted of friends who worked in the theater and comedy industry. He’d work his career in the day and enjoy his hobbies in the evening —doing stand-up comedy and community theater. Unbeknownst to him, he’d become enamored by this world of words, leading to a change in his journey and purpose.
“You can plan it [life] just doesn’t go that way” - E.J.D
Just nine years into his career, Mr. Dickey decided to completely reroute and switch gears, “There was this whole creative part of me that really just started to take control”. Following his Inner Guide, Dickey took the leap of faith, walking away from engineering in the middle of graduate school, to pursue a full-time writing career. He found his passion for fiction while taking a creative writing class. After writing several scripts for his friends and his own personal comedy acts, he started writing poetry and short stories.
The life of a writer is not an easy one. We’ve all heard the title “struggling artist” and Eric J. Dickey had his share of living as such; though his days of borrowing money from friends, and working as a substitute teacher to make ends meet, wouldn’t last long. We’d like to attribute this to his hardworking demeanor and focus on truly being self-employed. Friends recall his welcoming, vibrant nature and love for his work, “He was always working and never stopped studying; if there is something he could learn about the craft of writing he would study it.” Stated by his friend and bestselling author, Kimberla Lawson Roby.
When stepping away from engineering and his day job, he kept his same energy and work ethic. Mr. Dickey would work the same hours writing or studying daily, whether at his home desk or while traveling. In an interview with the Washington Post, he recalls having to drive 30-45 minutes to a class and never missing one session. “Many people become self-employed and take a vacation - You go to work and earn your vacation.” - EJD
Your purpose and the moves you make are for you!
Eric Jerome Dickey had strong emotions when it came to discussing one's personal decision to change career paths.
“Whenever you tell someone you’re going to do something else they’ll give you the side eye. No matter what you do, they are only capable of seeing you do one thing.” - EJD Keeping your next moves to yourself and letting your actions and intent shine for you is often the best move. Your choice to follow your passion need not be discussed and/or approved by anyone outside of yourself.
He published his first book Sister, Sister in 1996, then immediately followed with his second book, Friends & Lovers in 1997. This journey was not a smooth one, but the efforts of his focus and determination paid off after his 3rd book, Milk in My Coffee.
It was after it’s release, Milk in My Coffee, that Dickey felt he could comfortably quit the side jobs and substitute teaching to be a full-time author. From there, the celebrated author began publishing a book per year, and in 2000 he was producing two or more novels per year.
The New York Times bestselling author has published 29 books. Selling more than 7 million copies collectively!
His rise to success was founded on nurturing his talents and striving for personal growth, not fame. He believed in pouring energy into yourself, mastering your craft and gaining institutional knowledge. Often supporting the writing community with his dollar and voice; he was part of a collective of Black Authors, who travelled around holding writing workshops and promoting their work and Black Literature.
Eric Jerome Dickey and his purpose-driven road to words led to unprecedented success. Today, we look to Mr. Dickey for his unwavering dedication to be aware of and invested in your passion and your Inner G, your authentic self.
For the bulk of his early publishing years, Dickey wrote stories of romantic relationships of middle-class African American men and women. Best known for romance, erotica, and suspense, his character-driven works are unhurried pieces with lightly-coated social commentary, relatable vernacular, and comedic sarcasm. Have you read any of his novels?
Some of our favorites to get you started:
- If he could see any of his specific novels on the big screen, it would be ‘Friends and Lovers’. To date, his novel, Naughty or Nice, has been optioned by Lionsgate Films.
- Eric Jerome Dickey is the written author of the epic, untold love story between two of Marvel's greatest Black superheroes- Storm & Black Panther.
This is a For Your Inner G Artist Highlight Exclusive. Created to inspire, uplift, and deepen your knowledge of self, culture, and community.
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