Word & Image 

Ray Goode, 32: Aspiring Author, “Oprah” Pilgrim

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I was in the club with my uncles a while back, and I saw a guy walking around carrying flowers and stuff and I just got to thinking how I would propose to my girl. Well, she don't like roses. She's more political — she's a feminist and the whole nine. So I got to thinking, what kinda stuff would she like? I came up with a list of questions that night after I got back home, started writing them down and just went with the flow.

That relationship been over [laughs deeply]. But I went forward with the project. I asked 50 people 15 questions. From those 15 questions I came up with a story on how a person would like to be proposed to or do a proposal [of marriage]. My angle is that I can put my feet into anybody's high heels, flip-flops, sandals, Jordans, and see through their eyes. The name of the book is called “Traces of You.” I got black people. I got white people. I got Asians, gays — whatever it is, I got it.

The method to my madness … I'm gonna drive to Chicago and get featured on “Oprah.” I'm gonna hit up every radio and TV show. I'm gonna talk to people in the street. I don't care. I'm ready. I'm ready to stand outside. I'm ready to stalk [laughs]. I'm ready. If I gotta be outside in the cold shivering outside the “Oprah” show or radio station, cool. What else I got to do?

I'm a counselor at a group home in Richmond. And I really want the kids to believe in something. I got my own house. I got my own car. … What I want to do is take that away, you know what I'm sayin'? I want to go to the bottom, and I'm documenting it all on YouTube. Because I want the kids to see that if you want something you gotta go full force with no caution what…so…ever. And when you gripe and moan about the things that you don't have or the things that you can't do, you know what I'm sayin', I want them to look at this dude right here and say: “This dude is sleeping in a car. This dude is showering inside a gym for God's sake. And he's still wants more.” I will be their fall guy, so that they can do better.

I'm leaving the job. It's over. Today was the last day. They think I'm completely crazy [laughs]. Who don't think I'm crazy with this one? But that's cool, you know what I'm sayin'? This is life, you're supposed to enjoy it. If this is crazy … good God, what is life? What I'm doing, it's kinda sane to me.


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