Nichole Perkins named her new essay collection after a line from “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” a Prince song, and the book is partially dedicated to him as well. “I was fascinated by his determination to be who he was, fully,” Perkins said, adding that she was attracted to the way the late artist “seemed to sometimes battle his sensual side with his spiritual side. I felt very connected to that.”
In “Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be,” Perkins, who is also a poet and a podcaster, writes about sex, religion, family, pop culture, and a sometimes difficult childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. She acknowledged that it takes courage to tell personal stories. “I think I’ve always been pretty bold, but it still gets scary,” she said. “Once it’s out in a book, it’s there.”
Still, there have been rewards to sharing as much as she does in the book. “My sister told me that it’s been really interesting learning about me as an adult,” Perkins said. “Although I did not write it with the intention of showing my family that I’m an adult now, I’m kind of glad that they see it.”
One essay chronicles her journey away from her childhood church. “I had to figure out a new way to remain a spiritual person while breaking free of the structures of Christianity,” Perkins said. “I still listen to gospel music . . . especially if it’s gospel music by Aretha Franklin.”
Anyone can read her book, Perkins said, but she hopes it appeals to women. “I want women to read the book. I especially want Black women to read the book,” she added. In her essays, she hopes readers will see that “you can get to a point where you’re happy, even if you don’t have all the answers.”
Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at email@example.com.