I think the Civil Rights Movement changed that trajectory for me. The first thing I did was leave school. I was suspended for my participation in Movement demonstrations in my hometown, December, 1961.
My first novel, 'Leaving Atlanta,' took at look at my hometown in the late 1970s, when the city was terrorized by a serial murderer that left at least 29 African-American children dead.
I thought I was an odd person, and since my hometown had only about 70,000 people in it, I knew I was going to have to leave there and go out and find other odd people.
It's not necessary to go far and wide. I mean, you can really find exciting and inspiring things within your hometown.
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.