“Black Voices in Metro D.C.” is the working title of a manuscript in progress, written by Amanda M. Socci.

Inspired by Greatness

In mid-September, Amanda felt a strong pang that needed to be excised out of her, though all in a good way. The emotions had been bubbling for a long time and it was driving her crazy. Without hesitation, Amanda took what she felt inside and did what she knows how to do best – – write. She wrote nonstop a long stream of consciousness that ended up being roughly 14 pages of text.

Only after she wrote all that text, she then considered it was time to make things serious and follow the correct path by asking for permission. Of course, the very first person who she turned for permission was the same exact person who inspired Amanda to write this book in the first place: entrepreneur Rocky Parrish from Alexandria, VA. Amanda first learned about Rocky in January of 2019 and since then, had followed him on social media with a growing interest in Rocky’s business.

At first, Amanda thought she was going to write a simple blog post about Rocky’s business and put it on her blog, but then she considered opening up the door a bit wider by writing about others as well. The lightbulb of intense creativity went off in Amanda’s head and she immediately came up with the idea to write an entire book about Black people. But it’s not just any book. This is a unique book that captures the essence of those who live and work locally in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Writing about People while they’re Alive

Amanda got to work as quickly as possible, with excitement oozing out of every pore. And then she went to work calling Rocky with great enthusiasm, anticipating that he would agree to be a part of this new book project and being happy to have his efforts recognized in print.

What Amanda did not expect was the strange coincidence in Rocky’s choice of language during that initial phone call. As soon as Amanda explained to Rocky her mission in writing this book, Rocky immediately stated how important it was to “give flowers to a person while they’re alive,” referencing the odd and well-accepted custom of sending flower arrangements to a funeral home to celebrate a person’s life. Strange, because the dead person can’t enjoy the flowers. That is why it is better to give flowers to people when they are alive, so that they can enjoy them.

Amanda’s father was the first person to make this exact observation about how common it was to send a million flower arrangements to funeral services. None of it made any sense, and that struck a chord with Amanda. From that point forward, Amanda has made it a personal mission to live a life where she gives flowers to every single person she meets or doesn’t meet.

The school janitor and kitchen crew get hearty hellos and pleasant conversations. That shy person on Facebook who loves pets but doesn’t socialize much gets thoughtful words of encouragement. No matter the circumstance, Amanda makes it a point to give flowers to others disguised as words, smiles, conversation, communication, and sometimes prayers.

Every person needs flowers.

It is one thing to receive a school assignment and write about memorable people from our history. That is great. Nothing wrong with writing about dead people who fought for our country, invented things, or did courageous things. However, it is a totally different animal to write about someone who is living because no matter what you write about, you have to keep in careful consideration that the person, their family, and their work colleagues will all potentially read what you wrote.

Profiles of Black Women and Men

Amanda has decided to do her own part to promote the interests of the Black community by writing profiles of Black men and women who live and work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Amanda already has a roster of great people she’d like to write about, and is slowly reaching out and getting permission to do so.