In the Beginning
*Marc Lacy, a self-described Renaissance man, initially thought the term hinted to the reawakening of Europe’s cultural, artistic, political, and economic period that took place from the 14th century to the 17th century.
This era touted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature, and art after the calamity of the Late Middle Ages, which also drove societal transformation. However, through discussions with his immediate circle, he realized that the term was a reference to the Harlem Renaissance, a creative and bourgeoning movement based in African-American literature, music, theatre, and visual arts centered in Harlem, New York City during 1918 to 1937.
Contributors during this movement created various art forms that redefined “the New Negro,” an attempt to provide much-needed distance from “the white stereotypes that had influenced black peoples’ relationship to their heritage and to each other.”
That creative explosion of black culture “felt like a time when people were multi-faceted, well-versed, and people utilized all their gifts from God to make a difference,” says Lacy in his YouTube video titled “Renaissance Man.”
A Huntsville, Alabama native, he is a graduate of a historically black college and universities, Alabama A&M University with a dual bachelor’s of science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Design. His professional career has included the role of an engineer and gradually segued into technical writing and database administration.
While his occupation paid his necessary bills, it did not tap into his artistic traits. Steadily he cultivated himself into a motivational speaker and a published author of five books that include two books of poetry, one book of fictional short stories, and the remaining two novels are a part of a fiction-thriller trilogy.
Also, he has worked as a disc-jockey, voice-over artist, and as a producer of six spoken-word audio recordings and one motivational lecture series. “Anything that has something to do with writing speaking, in some form of production or communication I’m involved in,” tells Lacy.
Lacy always had an imaginative spirit stemming back to when he was a child in grade school he gravitated towards creative writing assignments which came naturally to him. During his high school, college, and after college graduation, other people requested that he speak or present a poem for many momentous occasions. But it wasn’t until the spoken word poetry television series “Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry Jam,” a spin-off from “Def Comedy Jam,” premiered on HBO from 2002 and ending its final season in 2007, which caused Lacy to consider his gifts seriously. The program featured both well-known poets like The Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, and Sonya Sanchez, as well as, the new school of poets like Saul Williams, J. Ivy, Jessica Care-Moore, and Lemon. In Lacy’s opinion, the show ushered in a new age of expression like a modern-day renaissance. “During that particular time, I remember “HBO Def Poetry” was very popular because the world was being fed the latest talent. Many of the very talented poets who were invited as guests were able to bolster their careers, whether it was writing, some form of performing arts, or production, and a lot of my friends were publishing their work,” recalls Lacy.
On Becoming an Entrepreneur
Laying witness to the wealth of talent showcased on the series lit a fire within Lacy to level up his game by diagramming how to create a platform for himself to own his artistic labor. In 2004, he published his first writing piece and also established his publishing imprint company, AVO Publishing, LLC, for all his speaking, writing, and producing commitments. From a professional standpoint, the incorporation of his business gave Lacy the sense he was a professional artist because every creative endeavor would fall under his company’s umbrella.
Lacy initially had no intention of creating his own publishing company. His primary focus was getting his book out to the public. Still, he soon realized if he wanted his writing projects recognized legitimately with an international standard book number, he would have to show proof of operating under a legal entity by which his publishing transactions could transpire.
Considering publishing has evolved over the years, today authors can have their work digitally available to their audience through such platforms like iTunes, Amazon, or on their websites, which is phasing out mom and pop bookstores that were once the backbone for independently published writers. Now writers have a plethora of options to become published, and Lacy decided to mimic the major publishing houses. He secured his business license and made sure to abide by the tax recording parameters. To assemble his team, he traveled to different book fairs and book events and met editors, typesetters, book cover, and website designers.
“I had to set up a conduit through which my products can be ordered in addition to having my products available on Amazon,” says Lacy. For independent authors, Amazon is a necessity even though they take a large percentage of the sales; the shopping site is everybody’s go-to because people base their decisions on reviews. Lacy did his research, assessed his budget, and calculated what type of financial gain he was targeting when considering the balance of promoting his books and audio recordings on his website as opposed to placing on them on Amazon. “You have to think about distribution as an independent author. You’re not going to have the amenity of mass distribution that you would if you had a traditional book deal with a major publisher. So having my products available on Amazon allows me to have other vehicles for distribution and to build my brand gradually,” he states.
Stepping Into Motivational Speaking
In addition to publishing his original works, he added the component of motivational speaking because he witnessed the impact he had on countless crowds. “That was my source of motivation, I just love making people feel good about themselves or giving people a different way of looking at things, I just love it,” says Lacy. In college, he was encouraged to give speeches to his classes and athletic teams. After he graduated, he gave orations for organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers, and various community events and conferences.
In 2016, he released a lecture series titled “Fly High, Fly Long, and Fly Fast” to inspire people to reach for the stars, be consistent, and take advantage of today instead of putting off for tomorrow to achieve their goals. He delves into each topic and breaks down the themes with practical anecdotes and advice with simple applications for any individual to implement.
Fly High – He uses the metaphorical situation to describe his target audience as being a world-class gold medal Olympic sprinter who needs to train with someone faster because iron sharpens iron. He believes people should not be intimidated by the training process because many coaches tend to make the practice more robust so the games can be more manageable.
Fly Long – Lacy enforces the power of consistency, even when the process is mundane and painstaking when seeking a particular goal. He illustrates this point with the University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban who once said: “I don’t want you to tell me what your goal is; I want you to show me how you plan on getting there.”
Fly Fast – He addresses the excuses people make when they are not reaching their objectives. There is no such thing as the perfect time to start something new. Lacy believes people mask their laziness by saying that they do not want to rush into anything. While that is a valid point, he asserts that people need to develop discipline and commit to continually researching whatever they are attempting to accomplish. Lastly, he believes no one should be afraid to fail and be willing to take some bumps and bruises to see and appreciate the value of their success.
His motivational speaking is not only confined to just audio recordings; with the use of social media, he has a Facebook page where he currently writes positive blog posts to uplift people during our nation’s current COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, he decided to shift his content into a weekly online show on Facebook Live called “Quarantine Soapboxin” with the tag line keeping it positive while stuck at the crib, which premiered April 30, 2020, at 6:00 pm. The show will air every Thursday on Marc’s personal Facebook page.
Check out his new book due in the fall titled “The Ghost of Ace Honeycutt,” of his Whiskey House Trilogy. To keep up with Marc Lacy on social media follow him at marclacy.com, Twitter: marc_lacy, Instagram: marc_lacy, Facebook Fan Page: Marc Lacy Speaker, Writer, & Producer