Monday, April 16, 2007

Is This Brown Bettie a ‘Lucy Stoner’*?
By Peppur Chambers

Keshia Kola
Writer, “The Shesaurus”

Growing up in an undesirable neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio with folks who couldn’t see past their noses, Keshia (born Marquisha Gatewood) knew she wanted to get out, see the world and have a nice house and a boat. Upon declaring her goals to her younger brother, he demanded, “How you expect to get that?” and she declared, “I’m gonna write me a book!” And that she has.

“Keshia Kola has ripped out the pages of etiquette and politics to create Pop Culture's first gender-based resource book: The Shesaurus.”

With over 2000+ entries, Keshia began compiling this compelling reference guide when she was writing a screenplay. While flipping through several books looking for words to describe her character, she thought, “Why can’t this all be in one book?!” She started collecting words as a hobby; one of her first words was “GRITS” which is a Girl Raised In The South. Her notebook kept filling up. Before she knew it, she had 700 words and the book took on a life of its own.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Learning to not discriminate against words. I’ve gotten comments like, “This is nothing but a book of insults” but I’ve also gotten, “This is exactly what I needed." "Hilarious!" "Clever concept!" I’ve done so much research. This book is a great history lesson every woman should have. It’s basically an Encyclopedia, Dictionary and Thesaurus rolled into one. It’s going to help people broaden their vocabularies. You can use “Fleet Street Dove” now instead of “Ho” or “Vagitarian” instead of “Lesbian”!

*A “Lucy Stoner” is a woman who fights to keep her maiden name. Think you might know the meaning of “Testatrix?” go to for the answer!

You describe yourself as a rebellious rule breaker, why?
I was born with the spirit of a man and lady-balls the size of a Ferris Wheel. My mom had me at a young age, 19, and was spoiled. She raised me to be the opposite, more independent. I feel some rules are made to be broken. If it ain't broke...break it! Who says I have to get married and have kids? I feel like God made me this way to break the cycle.

You have a small tattoo in the center of your forehead:
I got it when my grandmother passed away. It’s a seed representing the circle of life. Reminds me to keep growing and branching out. I look at what [the women in my family before me] accomplished or didn’t. That trickles down. I’m doing everything I want to do. I owe it to them to do this. I have to live this life and BE everything I can possibly be for them. I want their spirits to live on.

(Keshia wrote this poem to that effect. It's posted on the sidebar.)
Dating... How’s that going for you?
I’ve been engaged twice. Both times [I’d see the ring] and feel like “Get this shit outta my face. I can’t look at you for the rest of my life.” I’m a serial shacker. I like to play house…I like having in-house dick where I can just jump on it and go to sleep. I’m dating someone now. It has been a year. He’s from New York. He’s funny, driven…has the same sensibilities as I do. No nonsense. But he’s broke! I still love him and that pisses me off! And I’ve told him fuck-off at least four times. He won’t! He has literally grabbed on to me and would not let go…even when I’m yelling, “I hate you!” He has me sprung and there is nothing I can do about it.

You seem fearless. What are you afraid of these days?
Being checkmated…having a boss who has control over me…being married with children. Kids are beautiful, don’t get me wrong. I worry I’d drop them, say things I shouldn’t; tell them things they shouldn’t know…My grandma said I shouldn’t have kids because I’d probably leave them somewhere. Also, I’m trying to be Oprah-like. I want to be able to give and I don’t know if I could do that while being responsible to a family.

Why independent publishing with Penmar Press?
Well, I was unhappy with the way things were going and I asked my agent, “Do I have to kill someone like OJ? Or screw folks like Superhead?!” That was in October; I was dropped in January. I wasn’t surprised. I think it was my best move because they weren’t giving me the attention that I deserved or at least that I needed. I actually had one agent tell me, “We don’t know what to do with it.” People don’t get The Shesaurus because there’s nothing else like it. People are going to love it or hate it, but they can’t ignore it!

Keshia is currently working on the follow-up Men's "dick"tionary: The Hesaurus.
Contact Keshia Kola at, or


Jackie Moore said...

you are something special Sis and I mean that in a very good way. I think I already told you I love the poem. You are a very talented young writer. And yes, you broke the mold! Keep on doing what you're doing girl!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!