I met Linda Joyce at a HBCU event introduced through a friend. She was about my age though younger and immediately struck me as a very stylish and confident woman. We exchanged information leading to a sit-down lunch in Greensboro her present hometown. Linda Joyce a striking energetic and immediately engaging woman quickly pulled in the restaurant staff from the reception desk to our very young home-grown waiter. The night before I had a dream about a friend in yellow, here was Linda Joyce in a bright yellow high styled outfit.
Instead of being intimidating, she wore a great smile with the twinkle of delight in her eyes. I knew little about her as we chatted away on many subjects. Her diligence in selecting her meal, suggested a healthy person. Her short hair style with a barber cut design in the back suggested a bold personality. The outfit was explained to me as an extension of her extroverted outgoing dynamic and very present personality. ‘Why act old, she said.’ She is a woman who would take a dare and turn it into a new frontier. Since having lunch with Linda for the first time and conversations later, I learned she has two obvious talents where she excels. One she loves doing day to day, commercial real estate, and writing. My years of taking classes and seminars on real estate helped me appreciate her depth of knowledge and comfort level. It also showed me her compassion to help others understand the value of having and maintaining their real estate as wealth builders. Her passion for real estate is matched with her determination to educate African Americans. I can testify to the struggle by insisting we are fifty years behind the times. Linda who sees the ‘glass half full’ pause only briefly before insisting we need to wake up and catch up. Though this is not her in a nut shell, it captures her ‘get it done’ personality.
Linda’s other love is writing, descriptive writing. On a dare after participating for years in a book club, she wrote and self-published her book on the internet. Done. Then one day she received an email about publishing a book whereby she sent in her manuscript. With that publisher, she moved from the dare to a noted and appreciated author. She moved from done to opening up a whole new world that stood before her as another journey. Yes, the book was professionally completed for market consumption. She learned some new things about how to publish, but this did not move the needle that far. Linda had started another manuscript about one of her siblings, whom she said had an interesting life. Linda was receiving ‘five star’ ratings with many comments on her book which was selling on Amazon. Her publisher offered their website for free promotion. She is thinking about it. Yet she signed and handed me a book from the truck of her car saying to me calmly, ‘see how you think of me after you have read this book’. I thought given my initial impression how could that change? It was a curious statement as she gently encouraged my non ‘book reader’ status to finish the book.
I am not a book reviewer. ‘Second Room on the Right’ was provocative, culturally rich, emotionally charged, and descriptive enough to pull you into her reality as she strove against many odds with a stubborn determination. Linda Joyce is a true story teller. I was fortunate to have read the book even better to discuss Linda’s discoveries from conversations with others after they read the book. Her ‘elementary’ school reunion? Never heard of one, yet a 99 year old teacher returned to that event to tell her about her amazing book pinpointing herself in it. She insisted on letting Linda Joyce know about her gift for writing. With that she told Linda the larger story behind the why’s of what happened about her picture not being taken for her graduating class, a major setback described in her book. Each of these stories enriches my appreciation of Linda Joyce’s life adventures.
I am still getting to know this enchanting person. She was contained in youth to protect her survival and denied celebratory events affirming her accomplishments, yet she sparkles with a vision of life that is still glowing with options and opportunities. Linda Joyce has not seen her greatness yet. She speaks of insight on others whom she views as having greater travails than herself. I see her energy and power from solid experiences that tested her bodily, mental, and spiritual muscles beyond what the average person gets tested. This foundation that would have crumpled others only fuels her beautiful personality through many yet unseen doors as I stand and watch with admiration.
Art and Story by Visual Artist Lillian L. Thompson of Lillianonline