Name: Marcel “Fable the Poet” Price
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Age You First Fell in Love: 21
Love Is: A best friendship with the opposite sex. And that means it can be a mother that’s a best friend, that’s the opposite sex. It could be a sister, it could be a significant other. It’s somebody that you trust and adore.
I was blessed to meet Fable the Poet during his feature at The Eclectic Truth Open Mic and Poetry Slam, hosted by Baton Rouge’s The Poetry Alliance (every Tuesday, 8pm, 427 Laurel Street). What struck me the most about Fable’s writing was his ability to convey raw emotion while performing each piece. He speaks candidly about mental health and the importance of recognizing mental health issues and finding a way to heal. I’m very thankful Fable spoke with me during his visit to Louisiana.
You can find more of his work, here.
Monique: How old were you the first time you fell in love?
Fable: (huffs and laughs) I mean the first time I thought I was in love, maybe 15-16, but when I really fell in love, I was probably like 21.
M: And what was the difference [in the type of love] between 15 and 21?
F: Being in high school and losing your virginity and thinking that sex has something to do with love. And then actually understanding what it is to fall for a person and having them fall for you.
M: So then, what is love to you?
F: Love is a best friendship with the opposite sex. And that means it can be a mother that’s the best friend, that’s the opposite sex. It could be a sister, it could be a significant other. It’s somebody that you trust and adore.
M: As far as being from Michigan, I’ve never been and the only thing I know about the state is Detroit, which has this kind of Phoenix from the Ashes story and it’s waiting to rise from those ashes. How would you say being from Michigan has molded your life, how you self-identify, being biracial and what does that mean in the Michigan landscape?
F: What I always tell people is that I feel like being from Michigan makes you patient. Just because of the way our seasons work, it seems like you go through a long period of cold; where you’re waiting to go out, where you’re waiting to socialize, where you’re waiting to thaw and come back to life, which is actually what it is. I would definitely say it makes you patient.
When you say what it means to be biracial, I think it means just to be an individual, just another person. There’s really nothing special about it. I would say owning your identity is key to being biracial. If you’re like me and grew up in an urban environment, you’re always “too dark or too light” for different groups and different people, so it’s really just learning yourself and learning your identity and owning it.
M: In light of all of these murders and protests, do you feel like your voice has a place in conversations of Black Lives Matter and race issues?
F: I feel that any person of color is almost always going to come from the same place. Some people look at me and expect me to be more sentimental or expect me to be more lenient on their opinion because I am mixed and they say, “Oh well, you’re going to understand this side of it.”, and it’s like no, people are still dying unjustly. There’s no difference. If you’re a person of color, you’re a target. I’ve probably had a gun pulled on me five or six times in my life, growing up back home where we’re from and I’ve had to deal with the law, unfortunately more than times than I would like just through stupid experiences. The police are scary and I think that if you’re a person of color, you understand that, for sure. I don’t think there is a difference of opinion.
M: What inspired you to begin to create?
F: I really write for healing. And I write for the youth that I work with because my words help them get through situations they’re going through and help them realize they’re not alone. Like I said, I grew up [in the] innercity and I had an English teacher who saw I was failing out of school and she said, “I’ll make a deal with you; you don’t have to do another assignment for the rest of the year if you just turn in a piece of creative writing every single day. It could be a short story, it could be a true story, it could be something you started and just bs’d, I just want to see you write.” I was like, “Alright, for sure.” And I did, like, a lot of stories, my mom gave me this little book of fables; making animals talk as humans, traditional fables and literature. And I just gave her a lot of stories. She ended up sending me to a creative writing camp at the University of Michigan, The Ann Arbor Slam Team at the time was putting on and they really nurtured me as a writer and got me to where I am. It was the only thing that stayed consistent in my life.
M: In terms of writing as healing, what would you say is the most important thing for people to understand in regards to mental health and persons of color? It’s definitely something we’re often not given the space to talk about. There are so many other burdens that we seem to have to face; where mourning or grief is kind of looked at as a weakness in terms of surviving and living your day to day.
F: I feel like you pretty much hit the nail on the head. People of color grow up and they’re stereotypically plagued with so many instances; like if you grow up in an urban environment there’s a lot of homes that don’t have both parents, there’s poverty, there’s the loss of jobs and the inability to get a job. I feel that a lot of people, especially the older generation, mental illness is just something that’s so taboo. They’re so used to being like “Hey, pull up your bootstraps and keeping fighting, keep pushing.”, that it’s something a lot of people don’t own and don’t recognize. But I feel like it’s something you have to recognize because it is a very real thing. And I talk about it pretty crass as someone who was diagnosed with it and somebody that has found the ability to cope with it through writing. Until you learn a way to cope, until you find this medical cocktail that’s right for you, until you do whatever it is to make yourself a better person or a more functioning person, that’s the issue within itself. People really need to find what works for them.