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Conversations with Gray (G.F.) Fuller

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gray (G.F.) Fuller.

Gray, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’ve always been drawn to politics. From watching CBS This Morning with my grandmother before school, to visiting the Missouri Capitol with Senator Brian Williams, the science has always been on my mind. I’ve also always had a knack for writing, so the two interests were bound to meet sometime. In my junior year of high school, I started thinking about colleges and careers and what I wanted to do with my life, and as a high school student, I soon began to appreciate my own freedom to get started, to make things happen, to do what I truly wanted to do. I am so grateful to have such a privilege to be able to share my voice with the world around me.

I am connected with local, state and national politics. I’m on the Student Advisory Board for Missouri Senator Brian Williams, I’ve participated in Urban League events, and I’ve even been the political strategist for a Student-Body-Presidential campaign. But aside from connections, and experiences, what I think constitutes my story is my voice, and my ability to share it.

I’ve had pieces published in the Columbia Missourian and St. Louis American, and don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I constantly write and illustrate as a political creative, and wish to further share my thoughts and humor.

As for where I am today, well I’m not there yet. I still have stories to write, cartoons to draw, and many more steps to pass on my way. I’m a creative after all, so I guess that’s what the journey’s all about.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s always been hard to wiggle my way into the exclusive world of publishers and editors. I’ve submitted hundreds of pieces, and had to learn how to accept that a writing— however well written or topical it might be— just won’t be published. But that’s not an entirely bad thing; the territory of freelancing is ripe with rejection. It can bring challenge, but challenge can also be fun. Targeting an audience, or catering to a publication is a risky business, but so long as your ideals remain, your points are still powerful, and your voice is constant, then it is a challenge well met.

I am a 17-year-old, African American teen living in St. Louis. My voice might never be the loudest or the most sought-after, but such a revelation does not entirely mean that there lies another obstacle in my way. I believe my youth and color contribute to my unique voice— that same voice which I so deeply cherish and appreciate. I have a story to tell, and the fact remains that such a story will always come from a young, biracial kid from U-City.

I am a student, and as you might guess, balancing your academic life with your “other” academic life is a challenge. That is a challenge I meet head first— well, I guess homework first. I get my schoolwork done, and then turn to my writings.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a freelance writer and illustrator. I specialize in political pieces, especially the issues that we St. Louisans and Missourians care most about. I’ve written pieces about CRT bills, and feminine hygiene legislation, but also about more personal and cultural things, like the ethics of eating animals, thoughts on processed foods, and advising a Student-Body-President.

I have pieces published in the Columbia Missourian and St. Louis American, and I’m currently working on many more.

I’m always proud of my next piece. Whatever it might be, the excitement of writing and sharing “what’s next” is always fulfilling. Though, if I am being completely honest, my favorite piece I’ve written isn’t a satire of polarization or a damning report on the motives behind a certain CRT bill, it’s my own personal thoughts on food; admittedly it isn’t the hustle and bustle of politics that makes up everything I write, but the issues that I personally hold dear.

What sets me apart from others is my snarky take on policy, my satirical illustration style, and my drive to address Missouri’s own political happenings. I am not a journalist. I’m not on my school’s paper. The reason I write is because I love it, and I want to share my voice with a greater community. I do not claim to preach fact or report news; I write wittingly and wittily about the topics my voice has something to add to.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I do not claim to be a beacon of success. I haven’t “made it” yet and If I do “make it,” it’ll certainly be much later in my life. I have just started on this journey of mine, and I encourage you all to do the same. As we age or as we become more attached to systems or corporations, our true voices might be somewhat stifled. I recognize my right and current privilege to share with the world my unhindered voice, and I’d like to truly thank Voyage STL Magazine for allowing me to do just that.

My voice, however much I claim as my own, is a work of the individuals I surround myself with. My friends, teachers, and family remain guardians to the work I produce. I cannot complete a single article or essay or paper without the work of the insightful ladies who keep me in check, the teachers who challenge my conceptions, or the closest mentors who guide me in my pursuits.

This publication is unlike any that I’ve seen before— connecting the small businesses, the creatives, and the people in our local communities who are just starting out. I hope my story can allow for a greater transparency and uplifting of the voices of all people around us, and I am so glad Voyage is responsible in that same effort.

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Image Credits
Sydney Collinger

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