By Bianca Silva
When Laura Eustache Zamor became inspired to write a memoir shortly after graduating from Binghamton University in 2011, she realized she wanted to live more before putting it down on paper. Several years later, her book, The Audacity to Finish, has been published.
Zamor spoke at New York University (NYU) on March 29 to share her process writing the memoir to a group of students studying Haitian Creole. The Audacity to Finish focuses on her life growing up in a two-parent, middle-class home in the Bronx through college where she began experiencing depression, dizzy spells and suicidal thoughts and eventually finding her purpose in life.
“I decided to write this memoir because I felt like there was a part of the Haitian Diaspora story that needed to be told,” she says. “When a young person in the Haitian Diaspora suffers a spiritual attack, it can leave that child, person, adult feeling like they can’t put the pieces of their life back together. And the idea of a spiritual attack in the Haitian community is something that is widespread and known but something a bit taboo.”
Zamor currently works as a school counselor, freelance writer and is the founder and lead counselor of LoLo’s Light House Productions, a company dedicated to helping students and millennial mothers with personal, social and emotional development.
The event was held by Wynnie Lamour, an NYU professor and founder of the Haitian Creole Language Institute. She mentions how it is a good opportunity for her students to put what they’ve learned so far to the test by featuring people from the diaspora who speak it fluently.
“I love creating spaces like that where my students can actually practice and also hear other native speakers speak in Haitian Creole,” she says. “For them, it’s not just a speaking practice. It’s a listening comprehension practice.”
Lamour and Zamor met on Instagram when Zamor reached out to her regarding the work she was doing with the institute and the two connected over education. Lamour eventually asked her to speak on her work and experience to her class.
“A lot of people in the Afro Diaspora aren’t granted access to spaces like NYU,” she says. “NYU has this really huge platform. I knew that when I first started working here that I would be using my platform to share the stories of other people in the Haitian Diaspora. Making sure that students of color and primarily black students have access to people like Laura who are doing really amazing things in spaces where they wouldn’t ordinarily see people like that was really important to me.”
For Zamor, the primary details she pointed out in owning your narrative include not seeking anyone’s approval, being open to different spaces and letting go at some of the ideas that we tend to absorb.
“When you share your own story: the good, the bad, the ugly, the triumphant, not only are you walking through that but you’re seeing yourself on the other side,” she says.