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TCC student writes autobiographical fiction

His book is more graphic than a gangster movie.

For TCC student Richard A. Taylor, his book is his life. “Brushes with Death” is autobiographical fiction, and Taylor discussed the lessons he learned during his turbulent life at a presentation titled “Eyes on the Prize” at the Norfolk Student Center.

Speaking in recognition of Black History Month, Taylor called enrolling at TCC in the summer of 2012, “the best thing I could have ever done in my entire life.”

In addition to his liberal arts education, TCC provided the structure that allowed him to flourish as a writer and publish his first book.

“Brushes with Death” chronicles the life of a boy named Slick, who is really Taylor, a preacher’s son born in Goldsboro, N.C. Despite his aptitude for academics and athletics – Taylor excelled in the classroom and starred on his high school’s football and basketball teams – he couldn’t avoid the pitfalls of his peers. Like them, Taylor was intrigued by movies promoting the gangster lifestyle and songs that glorified violence.

Pointing to the team photo of his high school football team, Taylor rattles off this list. “No. 75 didn’t graduate from high school; he’s been to prison. No. 63 has been to prison. No. 8 was killed this year. No. 81 has been to prison. No. 16 is in the court system. …”

Taylor is a four-time felon himself, who has been on both sides of the gun. He fell prey to alcohol and drug addiction, gambling and womanizing. Each time he found himself clean, he couldn’t entirely escape the dangerous lifestyle that cost him his two best friends. One was killed and another remains in prison for robbery.

“I was a lost soul,” he admits.

After more than a decade of recklessness that included seven jails and prison in three different states, Taylor rediscovered his faith, structured his life around his classes at TCC and finished the book that he hopes will be a deterrent to others who have lost direction.

“My supreme goal is to establish a publishing company dedicated to motivational and inspirational stories and the development of aspiring authors,” he says. “I also have ambitions to found a school for low income children that will teach them true world history and heritage, along with the necessary skills needed to survive and thrive in this day and age.”