Tori Stewart: Creatively Ambitious Writer and Photographer

Sex, psychology, and writing for pleasure.

I will give you a few moments to grab a pen and paper. You may find something to note in the coming paragraphs. I am certain you will be encouraged to write in some fashion or another. Like any other time where something or someone brings along the urgency of putting your thoughts down, the words become invitations. An enticement for you to explore yourself and the vastly changing world around you. This has been an ongoing occurrence since I have met the vitally enthusiastic writer, Tori Stewart.

In our interview over the summer, Stewart reflects on her influences for writing while living and attending Grandview High School in Kansas City, MO. Although she has been writing since she was a young child and was encouraged by most of her teachers, there was one that stood out. In her junior year, she was accused of plagiarizing work that she had written, in front of her peers in the classroom. Daunting as the incident may seem, ironically, it only became the ink to her destined pen and motivated her to prove she was built for her career forward. Entering college, she transitioned to doing more academic writing while earning her degree in Social Psychology/Human Development. This forced her to take a break from the creative pieces that she had been drawn to originally.

Why is the written word important?One thing I’ve learned, is that a lot of people write what they feel but never say it. It’s a different way of expression-deeper even“. -Tori Stewart

None the less, Stewart continued to flourish through her many other artistic outlets. Approximately 3 years ago, she affirmed her visual expertise by following her passion of photography. She even earned the city’s vote by naming her Best Photographer for the Kansas City People’s Choice Awards. While she continues to develop her craft behind the camera, she decided to take things another step further in front of the camera as well. Stewart began vlogging her experience of pregnancy and delivering during the current pandemic. The medium features mostly first-time mother’s but most certainly gives an insightful understanding of the changes that are occurring for a safe childbirth.

“2020 People’s Choice Award’s Best Photographer: Tori Stewart”
Toritookit Photography

Through the unforeseen challenges that has arisen this year, Stewart presses forward in multiple aspects, including her niche for creative writing, making its way back on the scene. I asked Stewart what she felt like she needed more of to grow as a writer. She thought carefully and stated, “Dedication. I can make excuses as much as I want but it’s really all about dedication.” Nodding in agreement, the notion hits hard on my ears. It was a reluctant reminder that, frankly, challenges will always be here but the amount of dedication that I or any other artist, puts in will never be completely out of our control.  

Stewart’s persistence combined with finding her muse, revealed a project that will add “novelist” to the long list of accolades she holds. She shares with me that her first book titled RESHA, in the Urban Erotica genre will be published by the end of this year. “I wanted to accomplish something. I was chasing that feeling that I had at college graduation”, says Stewart. She states that her degree in Social Psychology/Human Development played a part in character development while creating the book. When discussing other influential writers in the genre, she leaned into works by Zane for the “crazy-good storyline” and the interesting female characters portrayals in Alex Harrison’s pieces.

Advice to new writers: Write freely. Do not write with the purpose of pleasing anyone else. That goes for other creatives“. -Tori Stewart

One thing for sure about Stewart is that her vision crosses mediums in the stories she tells through her work. I was given the honor of previewing the first 3 chapters of RESHA and it came with a lusting tease. There is such an ease between the dialogue and the switch to narration throughout the piece. Stewart’s style of writing hooks you from the start as you are dropped into the middle of an office workday. Shadowing a high-performing Black woman, taking control from the conference room to the bedroom.

If you know Stewart in the slightest, you know there is much humor to expect. I literally choked with laughter, reading the names of a few of the protagonist’s sex toys. Just in those few pages, I found a sensual smirk creeping across my face more than once. It brought back thoughts of my own splitting desires. How I’ve missed letting those fingers trace the scar on my lips, or the delectable looks given and received from dim-lit, crowded rooms. Also, realizing that this text brings me more closer to those rising feelings than I have been able to for most of this year.

What are key pieces to your process:My mood. Have to be in a good space, mentally. Have to be in a comfortable environment, keyboard, desk, chair, etc.” -Tori Stewart

Tori Stewart is a writer gifting us the joy of sensual pleasure at a time where mere hugs are almost forbidden in our pandemic state. Good sex and good writing have at least one thing in common. They both leave you wanting more, to desperately feel into its depths. Her creativity brings your imagination along for the ride. Art is literally apart of who she is. Undeniably by name, nature, and purpose.

Join us next week for our upcoming artist review: Natasha Ria El-Scari

Michelle L. Hill
Michelle L. Hill

Explorer of new worlds. Lover of Black music, art and culture. Writer and Editor for The Black Sunflower.

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